Dr. Debbie Kelly
Director and Principal Investigator
My research interests concern the evolution of cognition. My students, collaborators, and I focus primarily on spatial and social cognition. Our comparative work on spatial cognition examines how animals, as diverse as dogs, ants, rodents, birds, and humans, use information within their environment to orient and navigate. My research has examined issues such as how ecology and experience influence spatial cue use or how aging and the underlying mechanistic changes affect orientation and navigation. Within the area of social cognition, my laboratory focuses primarily on how food-storing birds use information when engaged in caching behavior. We have examined whether sociality influences cache protection strategies used by food-storing corvids.
I am currently a Professor in Psychology, with a cross-appointment in Biological Sciences. I am also an Associate Member of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering as well as an Associate Member of the Center on Aging. Additionally, I am currently the Editor-in-Chief for Animal Cognition.
huangn1 @ myumanitoba.ca
I am a Master’s student in Biological Sciences in Dr. Kelly’s lab. I am primarily interested in how spatial cognition in certain species has evolved to deal with the specific challenges in their environment. I have previously received my B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Western Ontario. I have conducted an undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Dr. Scott A. MacDougall-Shackleton, assessing sex-specific spatial memory differences in Brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater).
alejandrodrigo86 @ gmail.com
I am currently doing an academic stay in the Comparative Cognition laboratory of Dr. Debbie Kelly. I am exploring how pigeons (Columba livia) prioritize information in their environment, specifically comparing geometric (angular) and featural cue use. As part of my Ph.D. studies, I worked in the Learning and Comparative Cognition Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Buriticá at the Behavioral Studies and Research Center (Guadalajara, Mexico). My primary research focus was studying spatial learning in vertebrates, specifically how animals, including humans, compute the information of multiple landmarks in the environment to locate a goal. As a secondary research line, we were investigating the cognitive abilities of wild Great Tailed-Grackles (Quiscallus mexicanus) and their capacities to adapt to hazardous environments, such as cities
During my M.Sc., my research was focused on evaluating the effect of environmental enrichment in the performance of Wistar rats in multiple learning tasks, carried out in an open field, the radial arm maze, and operant chambers. Simultaneously, I am the Chief Operating Officer and Founding Partner of the company Walden Modular Equipment.
ezs619 @ gmail.com
I am a Master’s student in Psychology in Dr. Kelly’s lab. I am generally interested in social learning and cognition in corvids. I graduated with a B.Sc in animal behavior from Indiana University, and completed an honour’s thesis on huddling behavior in infant mice. My current research is investigating the effects of social behavior and past events on food cache protection strategies in Pinyon Jays.
gunaseiu @ myumanitoba.ca
I joined the lab in 2018 as a volunteer and have since been working as a research assistant. I completed my undergraduate honours thesis in 2021 on the Influence of Environmental Symmetry on Adult Reorientation Strategies. I am currently involved with several different studies that investigate spatial navigation in both birds and humans. I have a degree in Psychology with a minor in Biological Sciences from the University of Manitoba.
Le Hieu Ngan Nguyen
nguyelhn @ myumanitoba.ca
I’m a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in psychology. I am working on my honour’s thesis under Dr. Kelly’s supervision on the influence of geometric and featural cues on pigeon’s spatial memory. I look forward to completing my thesis in 2022.
mcconne8 @ myumanitoba.ca
I am an undergraduate student pursuing my honours degree in psychology through the faculty of science. I am currently working in the comparative cognition lab with Dr. Kelly. We study how pigeons encode both spatial and featural cues in their environment, which cues they prefer and how this differs across age and sex. Aside from comparative cognition, my other interests include social and abnormal psychology; specifically, the areas which relate to mental illness and mental health. In the future, it would bring me great pleasure to help others overcome their personal struggles while blossoming into an adept scholar.
umleona4 @ myumanitoba.ca
I joined the lab in 2011, and completed my Honours Undergraduate Thesis on how C57Bl/6 mice use geometric and featural cues to reorient. Since then, I have continued on in the lab as a Research Technician, working on projects continuing our investigation of the behavioral and neuromolecular properties of spatial navigation in mice, although I am interested in spatial navigation generally. I have degrees in both Computer Science and Psychology from the University of Manitoba.
- Dr. Verner Bingman, Bowling Green State University
- Dr. Ken Cheng, Macquarie University
- Dr. Robert Cook, Tufts University
- Dr. Kyle Elliott, McGill University
- Dr. Brett Gibson, University of New Hampshire
- Dr. Andrew Goertzen, University of Manitoba
- Dr. Mélanie Guigueno, McGill University
- Dr. Jeff Katz, Auburn University
- Dr. Ji Hyun Ko, University of Manitoba
- Dr. John Magnotti, University of Pennsylvania
- Dr. Daniele Nardi, Ball State University
- Dr. Jay (Jason) Treberg, University of Manitoba
- Dr. Giorgio Vallortigara, University of Trento
- Dr. Anthony Wright, University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Our work is in part maintained by the hard work of dedicated volunteers:
- Nicole Tongol
- Cynthia Odimegwu
- Karen Ng
- Helen Harvie (BA), currently doing her Master’s in Developmental Psychology at the University of Manitoba
- Dr. Christina Meier (Ph.D), currently working as an Executive at Cigna Health
- Dr. Alizée Vernouillet (Ph.D), currently working as a Post Graduate researcher at Ghent University
- Parisa Sepehri (BSc), currently doing her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Concordia University
- Candace Briggs (BA), completed her undergraduate Honour’s degree
- Shane Thiessen (BA), completed his undergraduate Honour’s degree
- Davin Iverson (BA), completed his undergraduate Honour’s degree
- Hera Casidsid (BA), completed her undergraduate Honour’s degree
- Danielle Sherwood (BA), completed his undergraduate Honour’s degree
- Gabriel Finkielsztein (BA), completed his undergraduate Honour’s degree
- Dr. Dawson Clary (MA, Ph.D) currently working as a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and the International College of Manitoba
- Althea Ambosta (MA), currently Clinical Study Assistant for Hub Research at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario
- Ashley Olson (BA), a previous undergraduate Honours student, now in the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine
- Megan Siemens (MA),currently working as a consultant at Kildonan Common
- Meara Stow (Honour’s Psychology) currently pursuing her Masters at the University of Western Ontario
- Dr. Sebastian Schwarz (Post-Doc), currently working at the Université Paul Sabatier
- Dr. Christiane Wilzeck (Post-Doc), currently Scientific Project Officer at European Commission, Belgium
- Dr. Inga Tiemann (Post-Doc), currently a researcher at University of Bonn, Bonn
- Dr. James Reichert (Ph.D, Post-Doc), currently working at the University of Saskatchewan