SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Jenny Tung, Primate Social Interactions


Monday October 9

Jenny Tung

Department of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology, Duke Population Research Institute, USA

Jenny Tung is an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology at Duke University and an affiliate of the Duke Population Research Institute. Jenny joined the Duke faculty in 2012 after completing her post-doctoral training in the University of Chicago Department of Human Genetics and her PhD training in the Duke Biology department. Research in the Tung lab focuses on the intersection between behavior, social structure, and genomics, using captive and wild primates as model systems.

Social interactions in primate life history, genomics, and evolution

In social species, including our own, interactions with other members of the same species powerfully shape the environment that animals face each day. These interactions mediate the evolutionary costs and benefits of group living. Here, I will present our recent research on the impact of social interactions at the molecular and organismal levels. Using a 45-year data set from wild baboons in Kenya, we demonstrate that social adversity in early life combines with ecological pressures to profoundly shape individual survival and lifetime reproductive success. Meanwhile, in captive rhesus macaques, we show that social status causally alters immune function, including the response to infection. Together, these results demonstrate that close ties between social adversity and survival have a long evolutionary history in the primate lineage, and that changes at the level of gene regulation contribute to this relationship.

Read more about Jenny Tungs research here

Host: Katerina Guschanski (katerina.guschanski@ebc.uu.se)