Christine Drea's Research Lab

Research Overview

The Drea lab members study aspects of mammalian social behavior and reproductive behavior focused on exceptional carnivores and primates. In these unusual species, the females display a suite of masculinized characteristics including male-like or exaggerated external genitalia and social dominance. Of primary concern are the physiological and behavioral correlates of reproductive and social development, with a focus on mechanisms of sexual differentiation. Through a combined laboratory and field approach, Drea lab members investigate topics such as reproductive and socio-endocrinology, genital and developmental morphology, and social behavior (particularly aggression, play, and scent marking in both sexes). We seek to better understand the evolution of female social dominance and the mechanisms of mammalian sexual differentiation.

Current projects include:

-Neuroendocrine and behavioral mechanisms of female dominance and reproductive skew in wild meerkats

-Comparative studies on the composition of chemical signals

-The genetic diversity of several immune function genes in ring-tailed lemurs

-Olfactory communication in Propithecus coquereli

-Behavior and neuroendrocrinology in several species of Eulemur

Scroll through the photos below to see the animals studied in the Drea Lab.

    • catta on tree
    • Photo Credit: Marylene Boulet
    • img 4159
    • Photo Credit: Javier delBarco-Trillo
    • Emf female
    • Photo Credit: David Haring
    • Sifaka
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • spotted hyena
    • Photo Credit: Christine Drea
    • Catta line
    • Photo Credit: Marylene Boulet
    • Blue-eyed Emf
    • Catta sitting
    • Photo Credit: Photo by Marie Charpentier
    • Meerkat colony
    • Photo Credit: Christine Drea
    • Prop
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Ring-tailed lemur Scent Mark
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • kody close
    • Photo Credit: Christine Drea
    • Sifakas
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Ring-tailed lemur babies
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Eulemur
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Meerkats
    • Photo Credit: Javier delBarco-Trillo
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Photos by Marylene Boulet, Marie Charpentier, Jeremy Crawford, Javi delBarco-Trillo, and David Haring.
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    • Photo Credit: Drea Lab

Drea Lab Exciting News!


- Katie successfully defended her PhD!  Congratulations Katie and we wish her good luck at her new postdoctoral position at Emory!

- Kendra returned to the Kalahari Meerkat Project for 6 months of fieldwork.


- Lydia Greene joined the lab as a new UPE Graduate student!  Welcome to Graduate School Lydia!

-Kendra presented at Animal Behavior 2014 in Princeton, NJ.


- Christine and Katie presented at Evolution 2014


- Lydia gave a presentation for the Duke Lemur Center's Evening with the Experts talk series

  - Kendra presented her research on testosterone and immunocompetence in meerkats at NSF's Ecoimmunology RCN meeting in Woods Hole, MA. 

For more Drea lab news, click here!


    • Dr. Christine Drea