Dr. Stacey Tecot, Director
Associate Professor, School of Anthropology
Stacey Tecot is a Biological Anthropologist and Primatologist. She studies how individuals cope with ecological and social change using behavioral and physiological responses. In particular, she is interested in how hormones can facilitate bonding and cooperation in a range of species, from wild lemurs, to pet dogs, to humans. Outside of the lab she conducts field research in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, and her work occurs at the nexus of theory, health, and species conservation. For more information, see her website.
Dr. Allison Hays, Postdoctoral Research Technician / Lab Manager
Allison M. Hays received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy in 2005 from the University of Arizona. Previously her post-doctoral research focused on Cancer mechanisms and cancer drug design. She is currently teaching Microbiology and Anatomy & Physiology at Pima Community College. She loves the fastest growing sport in the nation, pickleball. She plays pickleball tournaments throughout the year and has multiple first place finishes. She wants to be an Anthropologist when she grows up.
Madison Grant, Laboratory Coordinator
Madison Grant works with LEEP in collaboration with the College of Medicine to investigate hormonal influences on health in women. Before coming to LEEP, she conducted research on varied anthropological projects, including studying ancient and pre-colonial bioarchaeology and primate ecology in South America and Equatorial Africa. She is interested in comparatively exploring the intersection between primate behavior and biology to understand how both have played key roles in the evolution of human social plasticity.
Elizabeth Carranza, Project Coordinator
Elizabeth Carranza is a Project Coordinator with the Arizona Canine Cognition Center and works with LEEP to perform hormone analysis on samples collected from various canine studies. She is also learning and assisting in developing various lab methodologies. Much of her interest is in studying dog behavior, and the related physiological aspects of that behavior, to better understand steps we can take to increase their mental and physical welfare.
Gitanjali "Gita" Gnanadesikan, graduate student
Gitanjali "Gita" Gnanadesikan is an evolutionary biologist and comparative psychologist interested in how genetics, epigenetics, hormones, and the environment combine to produce the behavior that we observe in animals. Her dissertation proposal is entitled "Genetic and Endocrine Associations with Dog Behavior, Cognition, and Training Success in a Working Dog Population". In LEEP, Gita has been working on methods for measuring oxytocin and vasopressin in a variety of species and biological matrices. For more information, see her website: http://u.arizona.edu/~gitag/
Katherine King, Graduate Student
Katherine King graduated from Ripon College with a B.A. in Biology in 2019. During her undergrad, she conducted research in a Learning and Behavior lab, using laboratory rats to model human psychology and her seminar project was on fishery ecology in the Atlantic Ocean. Following graduation, she served as an intern at three AZA zoo facilities, working with elephants, giraffes, hippo, and lemurs, as well as conducting behavior and welfare research. Her main research interests are in primate social behavior and conservation. Her career goal is to conduct research on wild primate populations and educate people on primate ecology and conservation. In her free time she enjoys being in nature, reading, and crafting.
Arielle Liu, Graduate Student
Arielle Liu graduated from Rice University in 2020 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her time as an undergraduate, she researched correlates of sexual dichromatism in pelage across non-human primate taxa. Her current research interests include primate behavior and endocrinology and conservation. Outside of school, Arielle enjoys working out, cooking, and baking.
Xander Lopez, High School Intern
Xander Lopez is a high school senior who is interning with LEEP during the 2022-2023 academic year as a member of the Vail Internship Program. He is shadowing Allison Hays and working with graduate students to gain more experience in a laboratory setting before college. Currently, he is acquiring the necessary skills and learning the procedures for completing an enzyme immunoassay. He will be attending the University of Arizona as an undergraduate in the fall and hopes to explore various biological disciplines to discover what topics he is interested in researching.
Soafaniry Razanajatovo, DEA Student / Field Research Collaborator
Soafaniry is a DEA (Master’s equivalent) student in the Animal Biology Department at the University of Antananarivo. She is studying allomaternal care in the red-bellied lemur, Eulemur rubriventer, in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, and worked with the field team for three months in 2014. She is now writing her thesis, which focuses on the influence of allomaternal care on maternal and helper time budgets. She hopes to work in Animal Conservation and is interested in studying the strategies that animals use in degraded habitats.
McKenna Nelson, Post-Bac Lab Intern
McKenna Nelson graduated from the University of Arizona in 2021 with a B.S in Public Health- Environmental and Occupational Health Emphasis. During her time as an undergraduate, she researched environmental exposures and hazards in homes that could lead to adverse health effects for individuals living on the Hopi Reservation. As an research assistant for the RENEW team in the College of Medicine and LEEP, McKenna continues her research in public health focused on women's health. Her work is focused on gathering samples for the ORCHID project and processing these samples within LEEP. She plans on going to medical school and continuing work with underserved communities.
Isabelle Aguirre, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Isabelle Aguirre graduated in 2022 with a B.S in Anthropology with an emphasis in human biology, and a minor in Pre-Health thematics. She is interested in the evolution of non-human primates in relation to human biology and medicine. She enjoys hiking, exploring local coffee shops, trying new foods, and cross-stitching. UPDATE: Isabelle is now a forensic autopsy technician in the Pima County Medical Examiner's office.
Laura Beaman, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Laura Beaman is an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona majoring in Anthropology and Psychological Science. She has done primate field work in the Peruvian Amazon and is also passionate about human evolution and psychology. In her free time, she enjoys camping, hiking with her dog, playing guitar, and crafting. UPDATE: Laura is a McNair scholar working in the SEMA (Science Enhanced Mindful Awareness) lab!
Kayla Bernays, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Kayla graduated from the University of Arizona in 2015, with a major in Anthropology and a minor in French and Theater. She worked in LEEP during the 2014-2015 academic year. Through UA, Kayla participated in a primate studies field school in Rwanda. She is applying to Ph.D. programs so that she can one day become a professor of Anthropology and perform field research on the sexual behavior and mating systems of primates, preferably Old World monkeys. Outside of her infatuation with primates, Kayla enjoys being a UA campus tour guide and a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson. UPDATE: Kayla is studying Law at the University of Arizona!
Briana Betke, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Briana is a senior studying Wildlife Conservation and Management with an emphasis on disease. She is also a former participant in the Undergraduate Biological Research Program and is currently a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar. Briana is an intern in LEEP, and the lead technician in the Wildlife Endocrinology, Physiology, and Nutrition Lab. She will be presenting her research on the correlation between stress levels and forage quality in Sonoran pronghorn at the 2016 ESA conference. Her academic interests include the study of wildlife diseases and human linkages, management of disease, and the rehabilitation of wildlife. Briana hopes to continue her education in graduate school with a degree in veterinary public health. She will begin preceptoring in Fall 2016.
Madalena Birr, Undergraduate Lab Intern / Honor's Student
Madalena earned her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona in 2019. She is beginning vet school at Tufts in Fall 2021! She worked in LEEP since 2017, continuing to work with us on publishing the projects she started with us. She conducted her Honors thesis researching estradiol levels in paternal red bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer) and assisted in ongoing research in Madagascar on sifakas. She is working with Dr. Tecot on writing up both projects for publication. She hopes to continue in academia and expanding research in primatology to cognitive and behavioral studies. Madalena’s main career goals are to work on the intersection of social and environmental justice. When she is not in the lab she likes to immerse herself in the natural world with her dog, Rosita.
Hannah Carbonneau, Lab / Administrative Assistant
Hannah graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelors in Animal Sciences in 2013, and then moved to South Africa for a year and a half. While there, she studied wild rhinos and elephants on a reserve, and then worked with captive animals in a sanctuary park (see photo). When she moved back to the States, she worked as a veterinary technician for several years before moving to Arizona to pursue a graduate degree. She graduated from UA in 2018 with a Masters in Animal and Biomedical Industries. She currently works at the Reid Park Zoo as a full-time zookeeper, and she thoroughly enjoys working with a variety of species, including black and white ruffed lemurs and squirrel monkeys. She also loves her time working in LEEP, and has already learned so much about laboratory and research practices. Some of her main research interests are behavioral studies, including the intersection between human and animal relationships. In her free time she enjoys exploring southern Arizona with her partner, and cuddling with their two cats: Moose and Cholla.
Erica Cook, Lab Aide
Erica graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology in December 2019. She started out as an undergraduate lab intern in Fall 2019 and became a Lab Aide in LEEP. She is interested in human behavior as it relates to the evolution of our species, and more recently has been interested in our non-human primate relatives. She enjoys furthering her education in LEEP before exploring what graduate school has to offer. She loves bike riding, plants, cooking, and reading books. Her favorite authors are Etgar Keret, Lao Tzu, and David Sedaris. She enjoys making various types of curry and banana bread. Erica is now a lab manager in the SEMA (Science Enhanced Mindful Awareness) lab at the University of Arizona.
Nikki Cortes, Research / Lab Aide
Nikki earned her BS in Human Biology in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona in May 2014! She worked in LEEP for 1.5 years. Nikki is interested in nutrition and how development affects dietary decisions and health. She is currently searching for internships and/or graduate programs where she can further her study on these topics. Nikki had the opportunity to work at the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina in 2013 where she learned much about captive primate protocols, vocalizations, and generalized lemur behavior patterns.
Juliana Costanzo, Undergraduate Lab Intern / Preceptor
Juliana graduated from UA with BS degrees in Anthropology and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Spring 2016! She worked in LEEP from 2013-2016 as a volunteer, a preceptor, and an Undergraduate Biology Research Program associate. She has broad interests in Anthropology ranging from Biological Anthropology to Archaeology, and is currently applying to MD/PhD programs to continue her studies in Anthropology and Health. With support from the UA School of Anthropology she analyzed paternal estradiol levels in red-bellied lemurs, and presented her research at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists annual conference! Listen to Juliana discuss her research experience at UA on KXCI's Thesis Thursday. Update: Dr. Dixson earned her MD in 2021!
Laura Diakiw, Graduate Student
Laura earned her M.A. in Biological Anthropology at UA in 2017, and was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow! Her Master's thesis was on the Eulemur rubriventer microbiome and determinants of natal group microbial retention. She also conducts research on the baboon microbiome in Akagera National Park, Rwanda, where she has spent the past several summers conducting research. Laura helped conduct urinary peptide hormone validations in LEEP. At UCLA, she worked in Dr. Susan Perry's lab with her Lomas Barbudal capuchin project, and in Dr. Barney Schlinger's neuroendocrine lab.
Audrey Dunn, Field Research Assistant
Audrey graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Anthropology in 2015. She spent four months studying in Madagascar where she undertook a month-long research project in Lokobe National Park. Spending time in a montane rainforest led to her realization of a passion for the natural world and biodiversity conservation. She was back in Madagascar for three months to study allomaternal care in the red-bellied lemur in Ranomafana National Park. Next, she plans to move to East Kalimantan, Indonesia, to study behavioral innovations in Northeast Bornean orangutans.
Dr. Elizabeth Eadie, Postdoctoral Researcher
Adjunct Lecturer, School of Anthropology
Lizzy Eadie received her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology in 2012 from the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on nonhuman primate nutritional ecology and life history. She conducted her dissertation research at the Pacuare Nature Reserve in Costa Rica on white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) from 2009-2010. She is currently teaching biological anthropology courses such as Contemporary Approaches to Human Biology and Human Variation in the Modern World at the University of Arizona in addition to raising her daughter Alex and her son Marcel!
Chelsea Forer, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Chelsea earned her B.A. in 2019. She is the AmeriCorps Peer Coach Team Lead with the Metropolitan Education Commission for the 2021-2022 state term, and part of the new Fall 2021 cohort in the MA in Higher Education program at UA! While working in LEEP (2017-2019), she was an Honors undergraduate student at the University of Arizona studying Biological Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Religious Studies for Health Professionals. An interdisciplinary approach to public/global health, public policy, and humanities subjects such as religion through the anthropological lens of culture are a few of Chelsea’s current interests. In addition to becoming a member of the LEEP team, Chelsea worked as an undergraduate research assistant to Dr. Ivy Pike. She was an intern with the Supporting Environmental Education and Communities (SEEC) program, a College of Humanities Ambassador, a PATH mentor, and a Biological Anthropology/Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology intern. She won several awards for her exceptional work and leadership: Outstanding Senior in the College of Humanities, the School of Anthropology Leadership Award, and the Honor's College Dean's Award for Excellence. She was also a finalist for Outstanding Senior in the Honor's College.
Ariana Garcia, Undergraduate Lab Intern/Preceptor
Ariana is a senior at the University of Arizona Honors College studying Anthropology and Molecular and Cellular Biology, as well as a participant in the Undergraduate Biological Research Program (UBRP). She has worked in LEEP since 2015 and was a lab preceptor in 2016. She presented her research about the effects of long-term violence on pregnant and lactating mothers in Northern Kenya at the 2016 UBRP Conference, and is now exploring the relationship between stress and pregnancy for her Honor's thesis by analyzing hair cortisol levels in Panamanian women. Her academic interests include psychosocial health and stress, global health, and endocrinology. Ariana hopes to pursue a career in Biological Anthropology research after graduating from the University of Arizona. UPDATE: Ariana graduated in Spring 2017!
Caitlin Hawley, Undergraduate Lab Intern / Graduate Associate
Caitlin was a University of Arizona honors senior majoring in Anthropology and Psychology, and she graduated in 2015! She hopes to one day become a primatologist with broad interests in differential parental investment, mating strategies, life history, and endocrinology. She traveled to Rwanda to take part in the Primate Studies Field School run by the University of Arizona, and returned to Rwanda in the summer of 2014 to conduct independent research on mothering styles in olive baboons. Since working in the lab, her interests in non-invasive primate endocrinology have grown significantly. UPDATE: Caitlin was awarded a UA School of Anthropology Outstanding Student Scholarship in Fall 2015! She then went on to study geladas in Ethiopia. Listen to Caitlin discuss her research experiences at UA on KXCI's Thesis Thursday. After returning to LEEP for a bit in 2018-2019, Caitlin is now in the School of Human and Evolutionary Change graduate program in Anthropology at Arizona State University!
Krista Jacobson, Research/Laboratory Assistant
Krista Jacobson is a graduate student working toward a Professional Science Masters of Applied Biosciences. After graduating in 2006 with a BS in Veterinary Science, she made the move to industry and worked for several years in a clinical infectious disease laboratory. Krista has a wide scope of experience in animal science and immunology. Her research interests include assay design and emerging zoonotic infections. Outside the lab, you can find Krista recording music or on an exploratory road trip.
Avery Lane, Undergraduate Lab Intern / Field Research Assistant
Avery graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology in 2013. She then spent six months working in Ranomafana National Park in Southeastern Madagascar studying allomaternal care in the red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer). Her current research interests include: evolution, genetics, and endocrinology of social behavior, and the relationship between animals' microbiomes and social behavior. She also likes riding her bike, being outdoors, and creative writing. UPDATE: Avery received honorable mention for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She will begin a graduate program in Anthropology at Washington State University in Fall 2016!
Shreya Muralidhara, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Shreya graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S in Anthropology with an emphasis in Human Biology in May 2019. During the spring 2019 semester she was a research intern in LEEP conducting enzyme immunoassays to determine c-reactive protein levels, using dried blood spots collected from pastoralist communities from Kenya. She is interested in the human immune system and how we can use this research to help fight disease. She is currently looking for a research position that would allow her to learn more in this area.
Sabina Noll, Field Research Assistant
Sabina finished her undergraduate education in 2014 at the University of Rochester, where she studied Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (B.S.) and Cognitive Science (B.S.). She then went to Madagascar to participate in conservation work and field biology, ultimately joining the Allomaternal Care Project in Ranomafana National Park for three months. She is interested in biodiversity, conservation, and behavioral ecology.
Domoina Rabarivelo, DEA student / Field research collaborator and graduate student
Domoina successfully defended her DEA thesis , and is now a Ph.D. student in the Department of Animal Biology at the University of Antananarivo. She works as the Project Team Leader for Chances for nature (out of Germany) http://www.chancesfornature.org/. For her DEA work in 2012, she studied parental care behavior in red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer) with the project in Ranomafana National Park. Her study focused on social relationships between parents and juveniles. She is interested in primate behavior and conservation, and is now focusing on mammalian conservation by involving local communities through environmental education.
Aura Raulo, Lab visiting scholar / field research assistant
Aura came to LEEP while a Master's student from the University of Helsinki with the Metapopulation Research Centre. In 2013 she was an intern field assistant and spent four months in Ranomafana National Park studying allomaternal care and gut microbiome in red-bellied lemurs (E. rubriventer). She completed her Master's thesis on the red-bellied lemur microbiome and she is currently continuing work with the hormonal and microbiome data in LEEP. Her main interests lie in immunity, hormonal physiology and social structure in wild mammals. Besides science, she’s passionate about gardening and reading poetry, especially that of Avery’s (see above). UPDATE: She began a doctoral program at Oxford University in 2016, and earned her PhD in 2021!
Nick Rosas, Undergraduate Lab Intern
Nick Rosas graduated from the University of Arizona in 2021 with a major in Anthropology (BS with a concentration in Human Biology) and minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He is interested in the evolutionary history of humans and their close relatives, particularly as expressed in the fossil record, as well as in the behavioral ecology of extant primates. Outside of school, he is a fan of science fiction and tabletop games. He helped develop a pedigree for our Propithecus cooperation project in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Lewis. He is currently exploring further research opportunities and graduate programs in biological anthropology.
Alicia Sánchez Arroyo, Field Research Assistant
Alicia obtained her Biology Degree in 2012 at Complutense University (Madrid, Spain), where she specialized in Zoology. Because of her interest to primates, she studied an MSc in Primatology and worked in animal welfare in Barcelona Zoo. She is worked with the red-bellied lemur allomaternal care field team in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, from September 2014 through March 2015. In the future, she hopes to work in Biodiversity Conservation. UPDATE: Alicia joined the Multicellgenome Lab at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva in Barcelona, Spain!
Max Silva, Undergraduate Researcher
Max graduated from the University of Arizona in 2012, receiving a B.S. in Anthropology with a focus in Human Biology. While at UA he worked in LEEP on undergraduate physiological responses to stress. Since graduation Max has served in Peace Corps in Fiji and earned a Certificate in Public Health from the University of Arizona. He is currently a medical student at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Kyle Wiley, Undergraduate Researcher
Kyle graduated from the University of Arizona in 2013 receiving a BS in Anthropology with a focus in Human Biology and BA in Music Theory, History, and Criticism. While at UA he completed his honors thesis project on perceptions of and physiological responses to stress among undergraduate students, and completed his work in LEEP. Kyle is now a doctoral candidate at Yale University studying prenatal maternal stress, pregnancy biology, fetal development, and intergenerational signaling with broad interests in hormonal and epigenetic mechanisms of fetal programming. His dissertation project examines the consequences of exposure to interpersonal violence during pregnancy for both mothers and developing offspring in São Paulo, Brazil.