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Gitanjali Gnanadesikan

About Gitanjali Gnanadesikan

I am an evolutionary biologist and comparative psychologist who is interested in social behavior and cognition. I work with Evan MacLean in the Arizona Canine Cognition Center studying the development and evolution of behavior and cognition in dogs and wolves.

Selected Publications

Gnanadesikan, Gitanjali E., Brian Hare, Noah Snyder-Mackler, Josep Call, Julianne Kaminski, Adam Miklosi & Evan MacLean (2020). Breed differences in dog cognition associated with brain-expressed genes and neurological functions. Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi: 10.1093/icb/icaa112
Bray, Emily E., Margaret E. Gruen, Gitanjali E. Gnanadesikan, Daniel J. Horschler, Kerinne M. Levy, Brenda S. Kennedy, Brian A. Hare & Evan L. MacLean (2020). Cognitive characteristics of 8-to-10-week-old assistance dog puppies. Animal Behaviour. 166, 193-206. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2020.05.019.
Gnanadesikan, Gitanjali E., Brian Hare, Noah Snyder-Mackler & Evan L. MacLean (2020). Estimating the Heritability of Cognitive Traits Across Dog Breeds Reveals Highly Heritable Inhibitory Control and Communication Factors. Animal Cognitiondoi: 10.1007/s10071-020-01400-4
Gnanadesikan, Gitanjali E., William D. Pearse, and Allison K. Shaw. (2017). Evolution of mammalian migrations for refuge breeding, and food. Ecology and Evolutiondoi: 10.1002/ece3.3120
Ilana Janowitz Koch, Michelle M Clark, Michael J Thompson, Kerry A Deere‐Machemer, Jun Wang, Lionel Duarte, Gitanjali E Gnanadesikan, et al (2016). The concerted impact of domestication and transposon insertions on methylation patterns between dogs and grey wolves. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.13480

Courses Taught

ANTH 170C2 - Animal Minds (TA)

Areas of Study

Cognitive evolution, sociality, epigenetics, endocrinology.

Research Interests

My research focuses on cognitive evolution and social behavior, especially in domesticated species. I am particularly interested in developing experimental paradigms that enable meaningful comparisons of cognitive abilities across species. I also aim to design experiments that link biological mechanisms--spanning genetics, epigenetics, and endocrinology--with individual differences in cognitive and behavioral phenotypes.

Gitanjali Gnanadesikan's picture


M.A. Anthropology - University of Arizona - 2019

A.B. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - Princeton University - 2014