Brenda McCowan

Brenda McCowan

Position Title

Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine

One Shields Avenue, 1024 Haring Hall

Profile Introduction

Behavioral biology, socioecology and health

Research Interests

Patterns of health and well-being within human and animal societies and across different multispecies communities represent emergent global patterns whose underlying dynamics must be understood to better tackle complex health issues. One important goal of our program is to employ evolutionary and social network theories for practical applications at the human-animal interface using an interdisciplinary framework comprised of computational biology, genomics, epidemiology and behavioral ecology.

Our team seeks to understand how spatial and mathematical relations of networks relate to the content and quality of relationships and how such variation influences a diversity of health outcomes. This program is highly unique in that it is developing innovative multi-scale computational techniques that will provide greater insight into how and why basic genomic, behavioral and social processes influence specific health outcomes as well as overall health and well-being over all stages of the life span. The application of these approaches is applied broadly and serves as both a translational model for enhancing human health as well as a tool to optimize the health and well-being of captive and wild populations at the human-animal interface.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Animal Behavior

Specialties / Focus

  • Animal Management and Welfare
  • Behavior and Conservation
  • Behavior Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Communication


  • 1994 PhD Biological Anthropology Harvard University