2017-06 EEB 4th-year 1-cropMy name is Matt. I’m a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at Princeton, working with Iain Couzin (now a director at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology) and Dan Rubenstein. (I am also a data scientist with SoKat, but this website is about my academic research.) I’m fascinated by how highly coordinated groups transmit information and make decisions, specifically regarding predators. I also study how group membership affects how the group behaves. I answer these questions by combining theory with empirical work on schooling fish in the lab. My research involves daily use of the programming language R, which I’ve grown to love. You can find more on the academic work I do at the Research page, as well as random science fun at the Science Life page and my GitHub profile.

I care deeply about making science accessible to everyone, from non-scientists with a passing interest to researchers in different disciplines. As such, in 2013 I started a blog called The Headbanging Behaviorist, where I combine my interests in science, activism, and metal music to bring together viewers from groups that might not frequently interact. I am also a director for Princeton Open Labs, a graduate student-run outreach group aimed at increasing interest in science in K-12 students. I am a co-founder of Highwire Earth, an interdisciplinary blog on sustainable development, and was the managing editor for two years. We’re always looking for eager science communicators and more perspectives on solutions to global problems, so please do get in touch if either sounds interesting.

Outside of research, I love drumming, chess, and writing. If you happen to like metal music, I do plenty of metal drum covers on YouTube.

My full CV can be found here. Below is a brief version. Publications and conference presentations can be found at the Publications page.

2018*                  Princeton University
_                          Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
_                          April 2015: achieved PhD candidacy
_                          Advisor: Iain Couzin

2013                   Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen
U.S. Fulbright research fellow
_                          Advisor: Niels Dingemanse

2012                   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
_                          BSc in Integrative Biology Honors
_                          High Distinction (Biology); Cum Laude (University)
_                          Advisor: Alison Bell

Grants and Fellowships
2017                     NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant
2013                    NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
2012                    U.S. Student Fulbright grant to Germany

2018                    Biology of Coral Reefs | Spring semester | Princeton University
2016                    How to Talk Science | Intersession | Princeton University
2014                    Behavioral Ecology | Fall semester | Princeton University
2013                    Introductory Biology | Fall semester | Princeton University
2009-2012          Shotokan Karate club (president) | University of Illinois

Volunteer Experience
2017                     Statistics Without Borders coding volunteer
2016                    EEB statistics series co-founder and co-organizer
2015-2017          IACUC graduate student representative
2014-2016          PPRC graduate student conference co-organizer

Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, Environmental Biology of Fishes, Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Journal of Animal Ecology, New Journal of Physics

Personal photo credit: Sameer A. Khan
Baboon photo credit: blog.africadreamsafaris.com
Front page photo credit: padang-bai-beach-resort.com