Neetha Iyer specializes in the study of the behavioral ecology of group-living animals. Her main theoretical interests are to investigate host behavioral strategies that evolved in a parasite-rich world. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she studied the critically-endangered Grauer's gorilla endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo. She examined ecological factors influencing behavioral variation and parasite transmission in this African great ape.

Iyer has held teaching positions in evolutionary anthropology on human evolution, biological perspectives on sex and gender, and primate ecology. She believes that students learn best when they are intellectually stimulated and strives to help them develop skills in science literacy and communication. She is also passionate about promoting equitable access to educational opportunities among underrepresented minorities in academia.

Areas of Expertise

Evolutionary Anthropology, Animal Behavior, Disease Ecology


2018 — Master of Arts from University of California Davis

2013 — Bachelor of Arts from Univ. of California Berkeley

Courses Recently Taught

Biological anthropology studies the biological diversity of our species and the evolutionary history that has led us to our present condition. The course includes: (1) examination of the genetics underlying evolution and the mechanisms by which change occurs; (2) variation and adaptation among living humans; (3) living primate populations as keys to understanding our evolutionary past; and (4) human evolution. This course is designed to expose students to the breadth of biological anthropology and to prepare them for upper-level classes in anthropology and related disciplines. Enrollment is limited to first-year students and sophomores. This foundation course is required for upper-level work in biological anthropology courses. Offered every semester.