Mail: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Telephone: +86 13122102502 / +1 608-481-6640 / +49 (0) 176-5675-2386
My research interests are in the areas of zoology and evolutionary anthropology, with a particular focus on molecular approaches to the study and conservation of primates. For the past seven years, my work has been largely based in the Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan, Republic of Indonesia, where I conduct molecular and ecological studies of the Park's population of Bornean orang-utans. I also direct The Orang-utan Conservation Genetics Project, an international effort to study the genetics of orang-utans in zoos.
I originally trained in Zoology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, earning a Bachelor's degree (B.Sc. Hons) following study at the University of British Columbia in Canada. For my thesis, I investigated the effects of forest disturbance on wild orang-utan population density. I then read for a Master's degree (M.Phil. by Research) in Biological Anthropological Science at the University of Cambridge in England, where I studied mitochondrial DNA diversity among wild and ex-captive orang-utans. Most recently, I completed a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology, also at the University of Cambridge, for which I performed genetic analyses of social structure, mate choice and reproductive success among the endangered wild orang-utans of Tanjung Puting National Park.
I joined the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in February 2012, where I now hold a position as a postdoctoral scientist in both the Departments of Primatology and Evolutionary Genetics. As of July 2013, I am grateful to have been appointed to numerous additional positions. I am a Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the Young International Scientists' Scheme, based at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Max Planck Society Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. I am also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Research Associate at the nearby Henry Vilas Zoo. I am fortunate to work between Leipzig, Shanghai and Madison.
To date, my work has been generously funded by the University of Aberdeen, Darwin College, the John Reid Trust, the Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the Gilchrist Educational Trust, the Orangutan Foundation UK, the North of England Zoological Society at Chester Zoo, the Primate Society of Great Britain through a Charles A Lockwood Memorial Grant, the ARCUS Foundation, the Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, the Ridgeway-Venn studentship, the Miss Millie Foundation, the American Association of Zoo Keepers Los Angeles Chapter, the Orang Utan Republik Foundation through the 2012 LP Jenkins Memorial Fellowship, the German Academic Exchange Service, and with support from generous private donors. I am delighted to extend my research into 2014 with the support of Henry Vilas Zoo, Hendrix College, the Max Planck Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31450110070) and the Sacramento Zoo Conservation Fund.
Since 2007, I have been privileged to work in collaboration with the Indonesian State Ministry of Forestry and the wider government of the Republic of Indonesia, and with Dr Suwido H Limin of the Center for International Cooperation in Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatland (CIMTROP) at Universitas Palangka Raya. At Camp Leakey in Tanjung Puting National Park, I collaborate with Dr Biruté Mary Galdikas of Simon Fraser University. The Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin have provided ongoing and invaluable assistance in the field.
I am Director and Trustee of The Orang-utan Conservation Genetics Trust, a UK registered charity, and serve on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation. My research has been featured by the BBC and on ITV and Channel 4 in the UK, and on PBS in the USA; most recently as part of the documentary, 'Sex in the Wild'. My work has also been profiled by 'Psychology Today' and in WAZA News. Since 2009, I have served on the faculty of 'The Cambridge Tradition' summer programme in Zoology, with Oxbridge Academic Programs.