Current Lab Members
Recent Lab Members
Undergraduate Lab Members

Jeanne Jul08



Jeanne Altmann - Eugene Higgins Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Emeritus. Senior Scholar

Niki Learn - database manager

Niki joined the Altmann lab in April of 2009. She is responsible for uploading and maintaining the Princeton portion of the long-term, multifaceted database for the Amboseli Baboon Research Project.  She primarily handles data pertaining to female baboons, as well as weather data and initial proofing of most data as it arrives from the field team in Kenya.  She holds a BS in Biology from Lafayette College and an MS in Ecology from Rutgers.  Niki's previous work was on wetland mitigation monitoring and wetland assessment methodology at Rutgers where her main responsibilities were data management, analysis, and report writing.  She enjoys monitoring the behavior of her own "monkeys" at home.

Caitlin Barale - graduate student

Caitlin is doing her Ph.D research on the development of male-male bonds in juvenile geladas (Theropithecus gelada). She uses behavioral, hormonal and social network analyses to examine the formation of these bonds, their short-term benefits, and their stability and exclusivity over the course of the juvenile period. This work is done in collaboration with the University of Michigan Gelada Research Project (directed by Dr. Jacinta Beehner and Dr. Thore Bergman), and she is co-advised at Princeton by Dr. Altmann and Dr. Dan Rubenstein

Laurence Gesquiere - post-doctorate

Laurence is involved in the study of hormone-behavior relationship in yellow baboons. The current projects she is working on include examining the hormonal and behavioral changes observed at puberty and assessing the utility of fecal glucocorticoid levels as a measure of environment stress. Her responsibilities include managing the fecal sample database, preparing and analyzing fecal samples for radioimmunoassay and training the students.

A. Catherine Markham - graduate student

Catherine first joined the Altmann lab in 2004, working as the database manager for the Amboseli Baboon Research Project. Now enrolled as a Ph.D. student, she plans to focus her graduate research on using GIS/GPS technology to examine spatial and temporal distribution patterns of baboons. As part of her project, she is using the long-term GIS data from the Amboseli Baboon Research Project to investigate home range attributes, resource distribution, and movement patterns in the Amboseli baboon population.


Current Undergraduate Students

Dani Glaeser - class of 2012

Dani’s project on yellow baboons is to see if progesterone levels prior to conception and during pregnancy correlate with whether a pregnancy is successful or results in spontaneous abortion.

Marcus Theus - class of 2012

Marcus is interested in  the interactions between female Amboseli baboon dominance rank plasticity and steroid hormone levels--with a focus on testosterone and glucocorticoids.  In particular, he is exploring recent phenomena of rank upheaval events as well as mother-daughter rank reversal.

Recent Lab Members

Jacinta Beehner - collaborator

Jacinta is interested in the physiological causes and consquences of social behavior in social primates, particularly baboons (Papio spp.) and geladas (Theropithecus). She currently has a faculty position in the Departments of Psychology and Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Jacinta is still an active collaborator with our lab group. For more information please visit


Patty Chen - class of 2010

Patty's thesis explored the ways in which the physical and social environment affects endogenous levels of estrogens in subadult and adult male baboons. Patty also studies dance, and especially enjoys finding ways in which both biology and dance interact. She hopes to keep pursuing both passions in the future.

Janelle Couret - class of 2004

Janelle is currently a graduate student at the Nicholson School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University.

Brian Elliott - class of 2003

Brian's thesis was done on separation stress in the oldfield mouse (Peromyscus polionotus). These mice form monogamous pairs, and he is testing the hormonal (CORT) and behavioral changes in individuals after separating them from their established mates. Currently he is enrolled at Duke Medical School.

Courtney Endres - class of 2003

Courtney has a deep passion and interest in sea turtles. She has recently been monitoring hawksbill and green sea turtles in St. Croix, USVI, and before that spent several months in Florida monitoring loggerhead turtles.


Katherine Epstein - class of 2008

This fall, Katherine is enrolled in biochemistry and physics at George Washington University, and also volunteers in the psychiatric ward at GWU hospital. She will take the MCATs at the end of January 2009. In February, she will be moving to Hanover, NH to work as a research assistant at Dartmouth Medical School. The main focus of her lab is studying the co-occurrence of substance abuse with schitzophrenia. They are testing the suitability of a brain-lesioned rat as a model for the co-occurrence.


Tabby Fenn

Tabby Fenn - database manager

Tabby joined the Altmann Lab in 2006 after working as a Conservation Biologist for the UC Natural Reserve System and NJ Audubon Society.  She played the critical role of updating, maintaining, and querying the large behavioral, ecological, and demographic database on the Amboseli Baboon Project for Susan Alberts, Jeanne Altmann and other collaborators and students.  Her research interests included the use of GIS and long-term databases to manage species in protected areas.

Elizabeth Fox - lecturer

Beth is interested in female reproductive strategies and outcomes, from both the behavioral and physiological perspective. Beth spent 7 years in Indonesia studying female mating strategies in Sumatran orangutans and working on issues in orangutan conservation. Currently, Beth is an Associate Dean, Undergraduate Advising & Research, at Stanford University.

Matthew Godlewski - class of 2011

For his senior thesis, Matt evaluated the relationship between stress levels of humans and their dogs in the context of canine agility competitions.

Tatjana Good - former graduate student, Ph.D. 2004

Tatjana's research interests include causes and consequences of mutual mate choice in oldfield mice (P. poliontous). While at the Altmann Lab, her goal was to focus on the behavioral and endocrine correlates of pair formation and reproductive success in a monogamous, biparental species. Her thesis with its interdisciplinary approach to understanding the causes and consequences of mate choice unified aspects of animal behavior, of reproductive success, and of the hormonal correlates linking the two together. She is currently a visiting scholar with the ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies Program at James Cook University in Australia. For more information, please visit


Brittney Haas - class of 2009

The course Brittany took on the evolution of sex differences and her experience watching coral-reef fish in Panama helped lead to Brittany’s senior thesis on the factors that predict variability in offspring sex ratios in wild baboons. And as always, Brittany continues to pursue her love of fiddling. For more information, please visit


Angela Hu - class of 2008

Since July, Angela has been working as a clinical research coordinator in the Neurology Department at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. She helps manage drug and research trials for subjects with Huntington's Disease. She is also in the process of applying to medical school.

Meha Jain - class of 2007

Meha is interested in conservation biology and conservation policy. In the lab, Meha helped prepare fecal samples for hormone assays. She also helped enter data into the database.


Seva Kramer - IPBIR coordinator

Seva Kramer served as the Coordinator of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Integrated Primate Biomaterials and Information Resource (IPBIR). Jeanne Altmann was the Chairperson of the Committee. IPBIR assembled, characterized, and distributed high-quality DNA samples of known provenance with accompanying demographic, geographic, and behavioral information in order to stimulate and facilitate research in primate genetic diversity and evolution, comparative genomics, and population genetics. IPBIR was funded by the National Science Foundation primarily through the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE).


Pooja Kulkarni - high school intern, 2008-2009

Pooja is now a first year engineering student at Rutgers University, where she also participates in many clubs such as the One Campaign, Engineers without Borders, Amnesty International, and Diya. She hopes to major in Biomedical Engineering.

Nicholas Lilly - class of 2007

During his first two years at Princeton, Nick helped out in the lab with fecal prep, photo cataloguing, and data entry.  For his senior thesis, Nick worked with advisor Jeanne Altmann to complete a fictional novella centered around green sea turtle conservation and based on his own field research at the green turtle nesting beaches of Tortuguero, Costa Rica.  In the future, he hopes to publish his thesis and and to continue to combine his interests in biology and creative writing.


Jessica Lynch Alfaro - post-doctorate

Jessica Ward Lynch was a post-doctoral research associate who previously headed up the Altmann endocrinology laboratory at Princeton University. In this lab, fecal samples collected from the Amboseli baboons were assayed with radioimmunoassay techniques to determine steroid concentrations. Jessica's foci with the baboons included developmental, reproductive, and stress endocrinology. She trained and worked with a number of Princeton graduates and undergraduates on laboratory and data analyses for these and the Peromyscus projects. Currently, she is Associate Director of the Center for Society & Genetics at UCLA, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University.. For more information, please visit

Sarah Mathew - class of 2003

Sarah is currently a graduate student in Biological Anthropology at UCLA studying the evolution of cooperation. She uses mathematical modeling to understand how cooperative strategies can evolve and persist in populations, mostly through an evolutionary game theoretic framework. She is also pursuing empirical work on the evolved psychological mechanisms and cultural norms that motivate people to participate in warfare, specifically focusing on why people cooperate and behave altruistically in warfare, by studying cattle-raiding among pastoralist societies in East Africa. Her senior thesis research in the Altmann lab focused on intergroup relations and between-group dominance hierarchies in Amboseli baboons.

Nga Nguyen - former graduate student, Ph.D. 2006

Nga is interested in the causes and consequences of individual-based variation in social behavior of wild primates. For her PhD, Nga studied the endocrine correlates and fitness consequences of variation in mothering behavior in the wild yellow baboon population in Amboseli, Kenya. Her current research focuses on the behavioral endocrinology, ecology and conservation of the rare and enigmatic gelada baboon at Guassa, an unusually pristine alpine grassland in north-central Ethiopia that has been conserved by one of the few surviving ancient indigenous conservation initiatives on the African continent. Nga is currently an Assistant Professor, California State University, Fullerton CA. For more information, please visit

Walter Odede - former graduate student

Walter has a background in environmental science. He is interested in spatial ecology, geostatistics, and conservation biology. His MSc research focused on the effects of land-cover dynamics on foraging ecology of Amboseli yellow baboons. He analyzed landscape changes in Amboseli between 1984 and 2001 using GIS techniques and related these changes to baboon behavior and habitat use using data from the Amboseli Baboon Project's database, BABASE. He intends to continue with academic and professional development in environmental science specializing in landscape ecology. Walter received his GIS training from International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Laura Okpala - class of 2006

Laura spent her four years at Princeton working in the Altmann lab performing fecal prep, assays and data entry. Her senior thesis focused on examining gender differences that arise in orphaned yellow baboons, specifically in terms of fecal glucocorticoid levels, survival, wounding Incidence, and healing time. These research interests led her to spend time in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Laura is currentlly involved in investor relations and strategic consulting at a small firm, working with numerous life science and biotechnology companies around the world. She hopes in the future to have some of her prior research published. 

Patrick Onyango - former graduate student, Ph.D. 2011

Patrick studies the role of social organization and group structure in reproduction, with a bias in male animals using the baboon as a model. In brief, this involves the use of hormonal profiles to investigate the activity along the hypothalamo-pituitary/adrenal-gonadal axes and using non-invasive sampling techniques. Patrick is currently managing data with the Alberts lab at Duke University.

Daphne Onderdonk - database manager

Daphne played a critical role in updating and maintaining the large behavioral, ecological, and demographic database on the Amboseli Baboon Project. Every month, all the field data was mailed to Princeton. Daphne would then integrate the data into the larger database and pull out information needed for analyses by Susan Alberts, Jeanne Altmann and our collaborators and students. Daphne has a Bachelor's degree in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University and a Master's degree in Zoology from the University of Florida. She has conducted field work in several African countries.

Ethan Pride - former graduate student, Ph.D. 2003

Ethan finished his doctorate on group size, behavior, cortisol, and demography of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). In the Altmann lab, he measured cortisol concentrations in fecal samples that he collected from wild lemurs in Madagascar, and used these to show patterns of stress within his study population. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the College of New Jersey.

Rose Roll - class of 2003

Rose's senior thesis project consisted of testing the hypothesis that monogamous P. polionotus which have a history of reproductive failure with their current partner will be more likely to switch mates when given the opportunity than pairs with a history of reproductive success. To test this hypothesis, she ran mutual mate choice tests, with two pairs of opposite sex at a time.


Suzanne Rossi - class of 2008

Suzanne currently works as a full-time clinical research assistant at Pennsylvania Oncology/Hematology Associates, a private oncology practice affiliated with Pennsylvania Hospital.  She also volunteers once a week at Covenant House, a community crisis center for teens and young adults, and is in the process of applying to medical school.  


Nancy Rubenstein - research assistant

As a research assistant in Jeanne Altmann's lab, Nancy helped prepare fecal samples for radioimmunoassay. In addition, she helped train students new to the lab, and she also entered and proofread data. She is currently a pre-school teacher in Pennington, New Jersey.



Lili Shek - class of 2004

Lili's senior thesis examined the effects of termperature and rainfall on the reproduction of yellow baboons in Amboseli.  For this research, she extracted hormones such as corticosterone, testosterone, and estrogen from female and male baboon fecal samples.  After graduating in 2004, Lili worked as a Project 55 fellow in HIV-1 research.  Currently, she is in the medical class of 2010 at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.


Carolina Simao - lab assistant

Carolina began working in the Altmann Lab the summer after her freshman year of college, and has spent every summer there since. The highlight of her experience was a visit to the research site in Kenya, as well as a summer project investigating postpartum amenorrhea in female baboons. Having graduated from Rice University in May 2009, she is now a lab assistant in the Altmann Lab where she prepares fecal samples and runs radioimmunoassays. In her free time she is currently venturing into the field of web design for the sciences, but has tentative future plans to earn a graduate degree in tropical entomology.

Franklin West - undergraduate, Morehouse College

In a previous summer, Franklin examined the effects of wet/dry season, drought, and hierarchy on stress levels in male yellow baboons, Papio cynocephalus. He assessed stress levels by examining glucocorticoid levels in fecal samples from test subjects. Glucocorticoids are a suite of stress related steroid hormones. He compared the glucocorticoid levels to rain fall levels and ranks of individuals over a time period of two years. This is currently an ongoing project.


Allison Williams - class of 2009

Currently Allison is working at the Mpala Research Center in central Kenya as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. She's been working on multiple research projects with the Center's director that involve a carnivore population project using camera trapping and a project that focuses on the effects of the British Army trainings on wildlife by using line transect surveys.


Mio Yanagisawa - class of 2009

Mio currently is working as a research technician for a lab in the molecular genetics department of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her specific assignment is to assist in the study of how cholesterol metabolites in the brain affect learning and memory using both electrophysiology and behavioral analysis.

Jennifer Yu - class of 2003

With Professor Altmann as her thesis advisor, Jennifer worked to determine socio-ecological, behavioral and hormonal effects on the timing of menarche in female baboons. She mainly worked in the lab, preparing samples and running radioimmunoassays for different hormones. She is currently enrolled at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey.




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