Jennifer Essler is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, part of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is currently working on a project to link working dog genotype and phenotype in order to inform working dog selection, training, and breeding. Previously at at the Working Dog Center, she worked on scent detection and puppy development. Odor detection research includes investigations into the odor profiles of ovarian cancer, as well as the feasibility of utilizing detection dogs in the fight against antiquities smuggling and invasive species detection.
Jennifer graduated from Georgia State University in 2011 (BA in Psychology) with an undergraduate thesis and research work with Sarah Brosnan at the Language Research Center. There she worked with capuchin monkeys in decision making tasks. She received her Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University under the direction of Peter Judge. For her master’s degree, she studied cooperation and inequity aversion in capuchin monkeys. She received her PhD in Comparative Cognition at the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in Vienna, Austria under the direction of Friederike Range. Here she investigated how domestication affected inequity aversion and cooperation among hand-raised, pack-living wolves and dogs at the Wolf Science Center in Ernstbrunn, Austria.