Lab members


The Diademed Sifaka

Study Site: Tsinjoarivo

Tsinjoarivo's Biodiversity



For Potential Students:

Training students is something I enjoy, and a part of my job that I take very seriously. I intend to spend considerable time mentoring my students, eventually helping them transform into more effective researchers, scientists, communicators and teachers.

Students working with me need to be self-motivated, and have a dedication and drive for working hard to solve problems. In return, I take my obligation to support them seriously.

Irwin and students 2018

If you join my lab as a graduate student, you will receive specific mentoring from me. This will involve guidance through coursework and qualifying exams as well as the formulation and execution of your research project, and the communication of your results through conference presentations and publications. Typically my students do primatology fieldwork, and this is usually at Tsinjoarivo Forest. This is the fieldsite where I can help you the most with local infrastructure and research technicians - and there are plenty of research questions as-yet unanswered. I will set aside time to help you formulate a project, seek external grant or fellowship funding for that project, execute it, and convert the results into one or more publications. You will also join a mutually supportive lab environment in which students help mentor one another.

If applicable to your project, you will also be able to perform nutritional analyses in my nutritional ecology lab here at NIU. The lab is capable of quantifying the macronutrient composition of primate foods (protein, fat and carbohydrates), as well as a more biologically realistic measure of available protein, and concentrations of tannins and toxins. I will also support you in seeking collaboration with other labs here on campus or farther afield.

In return, I expect hard work! You will be expected to contribute significant time and energy and produce a quality project and thesis, as well as contribute intellectually to the lab and your peers. This will be a greater challenge than you faced as an undergraduate, but the payoff will be rich - because you will be pivoting from being a more passive consumer of knowledge to a more active producer of knowledge.

If you are interested in joining my lab as an undergraduate, there are several possibilities for completing an undergraduate thesis, or a research project supported by NIU's Student Engagement Fund. Please reach out to me by email.

Undergraduates are also most welcome to join my Study Abroad Program in Madagascar!

Irwin lab 2019

Princia 2019

If you are interested in becoming a graduate student in my lab, follow these simple steps:

1. Familiarize yourselves with NIU's graduate admission policies for Anthropology here - and make sure you follow the remaining steps well in advance of the deadline.

2. Reach out to me by email. Describe your interests, and attach your CV with references, and unofficial transcripts.

3. We will schedule a time to speak by phone or video chat. Be prepared to talk specifically about what you would like your research project to be - this is critical in determining if it would be a good fit.


DuBour team 2016