people

Principal investigator

Dr. Lauren Guillette (she/her)

2024 (July) Associate Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta (Canada)

2022 Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Ecology (Tier 2)

2018-2024 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta (Canada)

2018-2021 Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Biology, University of St Andrews (UK)

2015 BBSRC Anniversary Future Leader Fellow, School of Biology, University of St Andrews (UK)

2013 Royal Society Newton International Fellow, School of Biology, University of St Andrews (UK)

2012 PhD University of Alberta (Canada)

2007 MSc Mount Holyoke College (USA)

2002 BA Ripon College (USA)

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8777-6543

Scopus Author ID: 35237420800

ResearcherID: K-8154-2013

Twitter: @laurenguillette

Post-doc

Dr. Ben Whittaker (they/them)

2022- Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta (Canada)

2021 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph (Canada)

2019 PhD, Department of Biosciences, Swansea University (UK)

2012 MSc Biodiversity and Conservation, University of Leeds (UK)

2011 BSc Ecology and Environmental Biology, University of Leeds (UK)

Website: https://bawhittaker.weebly.com/

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9316-6285 

Twitter:  @ba_whittaker

Ben is interested in understanding how personality affects the way individuals interact with each other, specifically in terms of communication strategies and trade-offs between cooperation and conflict. Their previous research focused on how cleaner fish interact with salmon in aquaculture and developed tools for identifying commercially desired behaviours. Ben also enjoys podcasting, creating art, and being in nature.

Dr. Isabel Rojas-Ferrer (she/her/ella)

2024- Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, (Canada)

2023 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)

2022 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)

2021 Ph.D. in Biology, Department of Biology, University of Ottawa (Canada)

2016 M.Sc. in Ecology, evolution, and systematics, Department of Biology, University of Missouri-Saint Louis (USA) 

2014 B.S. in Industrial microbiology, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)

Isabel is a Puerto Rican scientist, educator and science communicator focusing on topics of animal behavior and cognition. She possesses a PhD from the University of Ottawa, Canada, where she investigated how individual passerine birds acquire and use information. Currently, she is interested in understanding how information flows through a natural system from the moment it gets embedded, acquired and transmitted across a population. Isabel is a resident at the STEMM Advocacy Institute on a project focused on animal literacy, and was a Fellow of Yale Ciencia Academy and Ciencia PR. Alongside her academic career, she is a fervent mental health and, diversity, equity, inclusion, and decolonization advocate. Her best friend and dog companion is a shepherd mix named Vito Rojas-Ferrer. 

Website: https://www.lilmissethologist.com/

ORCID: 0000-0003-1186-6099

Twitter: @LilMsEthologist

Ph.D. students

Connor Lambert

2018- PhD candidate, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta (Canada)

2018 BS Wildlife Conservation, Brigham Young University ( USA)

2018 MS Biology, Miami University ( USA)

Connor is a zoologist with interests in animal behavior, cognition, and conservation. During his undergraduate Connor worked on conservation and management of deer, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, and bats, and then did a Master’s in biology examining the evolution of monogamy in prairie voles.  He is fascinated by what animals perceive, how they process this information and learn from it, and the evolution of these cognitive abilities.  Connor is interested in not only studying the cognitive mechanisms underlying behavior, but also why these cognitive mechanisms have evolved and how and why individuals differ in these abilities. For his PhD Connor is studying how and why individuals within a species differ in their cognition,  what environmental and social factors shape cognitive abilities, and the evolutionary relationship between nest building and cognitive abilities. 

Website: https://ctlambert.weebly.com/

Google Scholar Profile: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=ugqnjZoAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3568-1868

Twitter: @ConnorTLambert

M.Sc. students

Julia Self (she/her)

Fall 2023, MSc Student, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta (Canada)

Summer 2023 Laboratory Manager/Research Assistant

Summer 2022 Undergraduate Research Initiative, Undergraduate Researcher Stipend

2021-23 Psychology Honours Student

2020 Volunteer

Julia completed her Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Guillette. Her research interests include determinants of cognitive development and social learning, with a broad passion for mental health. Outside of academic interests, Julia is a PADI certified Rescue Diver and is working towards her Master Diver certification. She also enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing, and volunteering with several mental health and community organizations in the Edmonton area.

Twitter: @JuliaLSelf

website: https://juliaself.owlstown.net/

Chandler Carr (starting Sept 2024)

Chandler has a broad interest in animal behaviors that are important for mate attraction and reproduction. Chandler is currently interested in understanding the causes of individuality in extended phenotypes like nest building. They love birds, brains, and beauty, having conducted two different independent undergraduate projects on house wren nest building and the neuroscience of how beauty affects human emotions. Beyond research, they love to make art, watch cartoons, play sandbox games, and exist in nature.

Twitter: @cecarr72

Sofia Garrido Villegas (she/her; starting Sept 2024)

Sofia is interested in neurobiology, cognition, and animal behaviour. She is intrigued by why animals exhibit certain behaviours, the choices they make, and the significance of these choices in both environmental and social contexts. Her bachelor thesis focused on the process of social integration of new individuals into already established groups in guinea pigs. Apart from her academic pursuits, she engages in literary activities, both reading and writing, and she enjoys taking walks in nature.

Twitter: @soficgarrido

Undergraduate students

Brandon Neil (he/him)

2023- Psychology Honours Student

Brandon is a 3rd year student working on completing a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Psychology. Brandon’s psychology interests are broad, but he is most interested in psychopathology and cognitive psychology. When not studying, Brandon enjoys various sports, hiking, and reading.

Henry Swartwood Garcia (he/him)

2024 MITACS Globalink Research Intern

Henry is studying his 4rth year of his Bachelor of Biology at the University of the Americas Puebla (Mexico), and shows a special interest in birds and more specifically in owls. Henry has worked with mottled owls in the past and is curious to learn new approaches for the study of birds in addition to their distribution, such as their behavior. Besides birds, Henry is very interested in botany, in interspecific relationships within ecosystems and in conservation biology. Henry likes to learn new things, and he enjoys singing, chatting with his partners, walking through the nature, playing board games, reading and playing/listening to music.

      Umama Mir (she/her)

      2024 URI Undergraduate Researcher Stipend; Scotiabank to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)

      2024 Independent Studies Student

      2023 Volunteer

      Umama is a third-year student completing a Bachelor of Science degree specializing in Immunology and Infection. She is interested in animal cognition and its similarities and differences to human cognition. Besides doing research, Umama also enjoys baking.

      Volunteers

      Simran Gill (she/her)

      2024 Volunteer

      Simran is a 3rd year undergraduate working towards a Bachelors of Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Simran is currently most interested in animal cognition and learning but has a broad interest in all thing Psychology. Outside of Psychology, she loves to read as much as possible.

      Hiba Zahid (she/her)

      2024 Volunteer

      Hiba is currently in her second year of studying Psychology for a Bachelor of Science degree. Her curiosity about animal cognition stems from a desire to understand the diversity in cognitive abilities across different species and the role evolution plays in shaping these distinctions. When not immersed in psychology literature, Hiba finds joy in nature walks and the simple pleasures of cooking and baking.

      Previous graduate team members

      Previous undergraduate & high school members

      • Stefan Stanescu, Summer 2023 Undergraduate Research Initiative, Undergraduate Researcher Stipend, 2023-2024 Independent Studies Student, 2022 Volunteer (2024 MSc student McGill University, Canada)
      • Nicole Gerle, 2023, Independent Studies Student, 2022 Volunteer
      • Maryam Abdelhamed, 2023 WISEST Summer Research Program (Queen Elizabeth High School, Alberta)
      • Nakul Wewhare, Summer 2023 MITACS Globalink Research Intern (IISER Pune, India)
      • Priya Binwal, Summer 2023 MITACS Globalink Research Intern ( IISER Kolkata, India)
      • Harleen Kooner, 2022-2023, Independent Studies Student
      • Cailyn Poole, 2021-2023 Psychology Honours Student; Summer 2022 Research Assistant
      • Jessica Hewitt, 2021-2023 Independent Studies Student, 2020 Volunteer
      • Karen Yeung, Summer 2022 Mitacs Globalink Research Intern (Hong Kong University)
      • Liam Nolet-Mulholland, 2019-2022 Psychology Honours Student
      • Anna Nevoit, Summer 2022, WISEST summer high school student
      • Deborah Yun, Summer 2022, WISEST summer high school student, (2023- Honours student in Physiology, University of Alberta)
      • Kalie Keays, 2020-2021, Volunteer
      • Shaunak Mistry 2019-2021, Independent studies student
      • Christine McManus 2020-2021, Independent studies student
      • Briana Kroeker 2019-2020, Psychology Honours student, (2024- MA student, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
      • Maks Taghizada 2019-2020, Independent studies student
      • Harsimran Khinda 2019-2020, Volunteer, (2022- PhD student, New York University College of Dentistry, USA)
      • Maneet Sidhu 2019-2020, Volunteer
      • Chelsea Hanson 2019-2020, Volunteer
      • Brittany Perkins 2019, WISEST summer high school student
      • Cora-Lee Kashuba 2019, WISEST summer high school student
      • Kristen Laurenson 2017-2018 (University of St Andrews) Biology Honours student
      • Peter Stewart 2017-2018 (University of St Andrews) Biology Honours student (2019-, PhD student, Conservation Ecology Group, Durham University, UK)
      • Alba McClinton 2017(University of St Andrews) Volunteer
      • Keren Lovie 2017(University of St Andrews) Volunteer
      • Clememnce Bonneaud 2017 (Université de Paris 13, France) Intern
      • Tas Vamos 2016 (University of St Andrews) Undergraduate Research Assistant, (2020-, PhD Student, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
      • Chloe Guerard 2016 (Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, France) Intern