Susan C. Alberts

Susan C. Alberts

Robert F. Durden Distinguished Professor of Biology

External Address: 
130 Science Drive, Rm 137, Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338


Research in the Alberts Lab investigates the evolution of social behavior, particular in mammals, with a specific focus on the social behavior, demography, life history, and behavioral endocrinology of wild primates. Our main research focuses on one of the longest-running studies of wild primates in the world, the Amboseli Baboon Research Project, in southern Kenya, which has been ongoing since 1971.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., The University of Chicago 1992

  • M.A., University of California - Los Angeles 1987

  • B.A., Reed College 1983

Selected Grants

Genetic and Genomics Training Grant awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2020 to 2025

Research Network on Animal Models to Understand Social Dimensions of Aging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2020 to 2025

Collaborative Research: Competition within and between primate social groups: Hormonal and behavioral signatures awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2023

The biodemography of early adversity: social behavioral processes in a wild animal model. awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2023

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Maternal Early Life Adversity, Maternal Care, and Offspring Survival awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

LTREB Renewal: Life history and behavior in a primate hybrid zone awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2021

Effects of Early-life Adversity on Body Size and Immune Function in Wild Baboons awarded by L.S.B. Leakey Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2021

A life course perspective on the effects of cumulative early adversity on health awarded by University of Notre Dame (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2021

Genetics Training Grant awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1979 to 2020


Fitzpatrick, C. L., and S. C. Alberts. “Mating systems of old world monkeys.” Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, 2019, pp. 575–79. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-809633-8.20690-0. Full Text

Tung, J. “Genes revisited: The biodemography of social environmental variation through a functional genomics lens.” Sociality, Hierarchy, Health: Comparative Biodemography: A Collection of Papers, 2014, pp. 39–64. Scopus, doi:10.17226/18822. Full Text

Alberts, S. C., and J. Altmann. “The Amboseli baboon research project: 40 years of continuity and change.” Long-Term Field Studies of Primates, vol. 9783642225147, 2012, pp. 261–87. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-22514-7_12. Full Text

Loisel, D. A., et al. “Functional significance of MHC variation in mate choice, reproductive outcome, and disease risk.” Evolution in Health and Disease, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.003.0008. Full Text

Zipple, Matthew N., et al. “Maternal death and offspring fitness in multiple wild primates.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 1, Jan. 2021. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.2015317118. Full Text

Campos, Fernando A., et al. “Social bonds, social status and survival in wild baboons: a tale of two sexes.Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, vol. 375, no. 1811, Nov. 2020, p. 20190621. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0621. Full Text

Weibel, Chelsea J., et al. “Accelerated reproduction is not an adaptive response to early-life adversity in wild baboons.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 40, Oct. 2020, pp. 24909–19. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.2004018117. Full Text

Levy, Emily J., et al. “A comparison of dominance rank metrics reveals multiple competitive landscapes in an animal society.Proceedings. Biological Sciences, vol. 287, no. 1934, Sept. 2020, p. 20201013. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.1013. Full Text Open Access Copy

Levy, Emily J., et al. “Higher dominance rank is associated with lower glucocorticoids in wild female baboons: A rank metric comparison.Hormones and Behavior, vol. 125, Sept. 2020, p. 104826. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2020.104826. Full Text Open Access Copy

Rosenbaum, Stacy, et al. “Social bonds do not mediate the relationship between early adversity and adult glucocorticoids in wild baboons.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 33, Aug. 2020, pp. 20052–62. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.2004524117. Full Text

Noonan, Michael J., et al. “Effects of body size on estimation of mammalian area requirements.Conservation Biology : The Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, vol. 34, no. 4, Aug. 2020, pp. 1017–28. Epmc, doi:10.1111/cobi.13495. Full Text

Snyder-Mackler, Noah, et al. “Social determinants of health and survival in humans and other animals.Science (New York, N.Y.), vol. 368, no. 6493, May 2020. Epmc, doi:10.1126/science.aax9553. Full Text Open Access Copy

Gesquiere, Laurence R., et al. “Noninvasive measurement of mucosal immunity in a free-ranging baboon population.American Journal of Primatology, vol. 82, no. 2, Feb. 2020, p. e23093. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajp.23093. Full Text

McLean, Emily M., et al. “Lifetime Fitness in Wild Female Baboons: Trade-Offs and Individual Heterogeneity in Quality.The American Naturalist, vol. 194, no. 6, Dec. 2019, pp. 745–59. Epmc, doi:10.1086/705810. Full Text


Widdig, Anja, et al. “Do mothers promote social preference among their paternally related offspring? Testing mechanisms of paternal kin discrimination.” Folia Primatologica, vol. 79, no. 5, KARGER, 2008, pp. 398–398.

Campos, Fernando A., et al. Data from: Beyond orphaned infants: novel effects of maternal death in wild primates. 26 Oct. 2020. Crossref, doi:10.7924/r44f1tk8k. Full Text