My research interests mainly revolve around individual variation in physiological and behavioral traits, their influence on an individual´s health, fitness and survival probability and to understand how environmental change acts as a mediating force. My research aims to understand which behavioral and physiological responses enable animals to adapt to natural and anthropogenic changes in their environment, and to assess the consequences of these responses for health, survival and fitness. For the future, I envision to conduct projects that untangle how constraints imposed by the environment, such as variation in climatic variables and food availability, and human-induced rapid environmental changes together with among-individual variation in behavior, physiology and health shape life-history characteristics and ultimately fitness and survival.
In 2013 I obtained my PhD in Biodiversity and Ecology at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany. For my PhD research, I assessed the behavioral and endocrine responses of two Colombian primate species to forest fragmentation. Subsequently, I was a postdoctoral fellow (2014 – 2016) and a Claude Leon postdoctoral fellow (2017 – 2018) at the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. During these positions, I led numerous ecophysiological projects, combining measurements of resting metabolic rate, daily energy expenditure (using the doubly labeled water method) and behavioral observations to tease apart whether individuals regulate their energy expenditure via physiological and/or behavioral adjustments, and to examine which environmental factors drive changes in resting metabolic rate in African striped mice inhabiting the Succulent Karoo. Thereafter, I joined the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, USA as a postdoctoral associate (2019 – 2021) and worked on an array of mammalian species. I tested the hypothesis that urbanization negatively affects physiology and health by studying eastern grey squirrels in natural and urbanized habitats. In humans, we showed that daily energy expenditure is not associated with short-term changes in body composition in adults. Starting in October 2022, I will join the Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Münster, Germany as a postdoctoral fellow.