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Jenn Houtz

Affiliations and Roles

Graduate Mentor, PhD Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Mentor

Research Interests: I’m interested in the bidirectional communication pathway between gut bacteria and the brain called the gut-brain axis. I study the mechanistic links between the gut microbiome and stress-related changes in physiology, behavior, and brain development in birds.

About Me: I’m a first-generation college student from Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. I received my B.S. in Animal Behavior from Millersville University, where I conducted research on avian social behavior in the Ecuadorian Amazon. After completing undergrad, I immediately started my PhD at Cornell, where I now study interactions between stress physiology and gut microbiota in birds. Outside of research, I am passionate about public outreach and citizen science efforts. I love to encourage younger generations to confidently pursue a career in STEM by sharing my own experiences with them. I also love hiking, kayaking, and dancing (ballet, jazz, and tap) in my spare time!
I have experience in both laboratory-based and field-based research so I’d be happy to talk with you about how to obtain a position as a field biology technician or lab assistant. As a first-generation college student myself, I can answer any questions about fellowship/scholarship applications or the graduate school admissions process in general.