Kenny Chiou

About Me

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University. My research centers on the intersection of sociality, ecology, genomics, and health in primates. I am interested in the biological and evolutionary underpinnings of health and aging, focusing on two main questions:

  1. how psychosocial experiences and other environmental stimuli may influence health disparities by altering physiology, physiology, and aging.
  2. how genome evolution shaped by population dynamics and natural selection influences physiology and health.

My research is collaborative and multidisciplinary, blending evolutionary biology, biological anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, geroscience, and genomics. My research also combines insights from field-based observations and laboratory-based experiments. My work therefore takes me along the full gamut from fieldwork to labwork to the computational work necessary for making sense of complex and highly multidimensional data.

I completed my undergraduate training in biological anthropology at New York University in the Molecular Anthropology Lab, where I was advised by Tony Di Fiore and first worked with primates in the field at Tiputini Biodiversity Station. I then completed my Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis, also in biological anthropology, where I was advised by Jane Phillips-Conroy and first began working with baboons in Zambia. My early postdoctoral training was in psychology in the Noah Snyder-Mackler Lab at the University of Washington, where I was also trained in the Genetic Approaches to Aging T32 training program within the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging. I then moved to Arizona State University, where I am currently affiliated with the Center for Evolution and Medicine and the School of Life Sciences. Throughout my postdoctoral work, I have collaborated extensively with the Simien Mountains Gelada Research Project and the Caribbean Primate Research Center/Cayo Biobank Research Unit. In 2019, I also became a co-director of the long-term field study, the Kasanka Baboon Project.

I am interested in the role that researchers can play as educators and social entrepreneurs and the ways in which their fieldwork can interact with local communities to promote positive change. Fieldwork is without a doubt one of the most exciting aspects of my work. In a unique sense, however, it offers a valuable opportunity for researchers to pursue goals not directly related to research, including community development, education, and conservation. For primatologists, conservation is a particularly salient goal as an alarming fraction of nonhuman primates face extinction pressures from deforestation, hunting, and other human activity. While this is not a primary focus of my research, it is an issue that influences me and that I consider in my research planning.

See my Projects page for more!

Apart from my professional work, I enjoy hiking and petting dogs. I have recently been reading books about seafood and watching documentaries about World War II. I hope to someday visit the steppes of Mongolia.