The Cooperation and Conflict Lab investigates cooperation and conflict across a variety of systems, from human food sharing to cooperation in multicellularity and cancer. Research assistant opportunities are available for the following projects:
Opportunities for The Human Generosity Project: The Human Generosity Project is a large-scale transdisciplinary research project to investigate the inter-relationship between biological and cultural influences on human cooperation. Funded in part by The National Institutes of Health and The Sir John Templeton Foundation, this project fuses multiple methodologies to understand the nature and evolution of human cooperation including fieldwork, laboratory experiments and computational modeling. Some of the current topics being investigated include the evolution of empathy, prosociality, cognitive mechanisms for detecting cognitive stinginess and greediness, reciprocity, and the “rules” of friendships. Research Assistants on this project are involved in tasks including literature review, material creation, and data collection and processing.
Opportunities for the Microbiome and Behavior Project: The Aktipis Lab studies the role of microbes in human behavior as well as the nature of microbe-host interactions. We apply the frameworks of genetic conflict and cooperation theory to understand the complex interactions between us and our microbiota and the evolutionary pressures that have shaped these interactions and the implications for human eating behavior, social behavior, and general well-being. Research Assistants on this project are involved in tasks including development of survey measures, literature review, and data collection and processing (tracking participants and transporting biological samples).
Opportunities for the Kombucha Project: The Kombucha project studies the fermented drink ‘Kombucha’ in an effort to dissect cooperation and conflict at a microbial scale. It is a beverage created by a symbiosis of acetic acid bacteria and ethanol-fermenting yeast, and represents an easy, accessible model system to study microbes that have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. Research Assistants on this project are involved in researching literature related to bacterial-yeast symbioses and mixed-species communities, fermentation, and the material properties of cellulosic biofilms.