Eleni Nikitopoulos earned a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in behavioral biology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She was a postdoctoral science fellow at Columbia University, where she received intensive training in teaching and developing science curriculum for college undergraduates. She also completed a research postdoc at Columbia investigating cooperation and collective action in non-human primates. She is currently a member of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology and NYU’s Center for the Study of Human Origins.

Nikitopoulos studies the evolution of social and sexual behavior in primates. She is interested in the function of behavioral and physiological adaptations. In other words, why have certain traits in behavior and physiology evolved? What is the selective advantage that they confer? Her research spans the fields of physical anthropology, ethology, and organismal biology, integrating observations in naturalistic conditions with laboratory analyses in molecular genetics, chemistry, and reproductive endocrinology. Her work has focused on Old World monkeys and apes in wild populations and in free-ranging captive groups.

Recent Projects and Research

  • The role of olfactory signals in primate sexual behavior
  • Effects of maternal and paternal kinship on social behavior in blue monkeys
  • Factors influencing participation in intergroup conflict as a model of collective action
All Research Activities

Selected Publications

  • 2015 Cords M., Nikitopoulos E. Maternal kin bias in spatial association and grooming among wild adult female blue monkeys. American Journal of Primatology 77: 109-123; doi:10.1002/ajp.22315
  • 2014 Roberts S.J., Nikitopoulos E., Cords M. Factors affecting low resident male siring success in one-male groups of blue monkeys. Behavioral Ecology 25: 852-861
  • 2005 Nikitopoulos E., Heistermann M., de Vries H., Sterck E.H.M., van Hooff J.A.R.A.M. A pair choice test to identify female mating pattern in relation to ovulation in long-tailed macaques, Macaca fascicularis. Animal Behaviour 70: 1283-1296.
  • 2004 Nikitopoulos E., Arnhem E., Sterck E.H.M., van Hooff J.A.R.A.M. The influence of female copulation calls on male sexual behavior in captive Macaca fascicularis. International Journal of Primatology 25: 659-677.

Honors and Awards

  • 1995 Fulbright Grant
  • 2005 Columbia University Science Fellowship

Courses Taught at New York Tech

  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Neuroscience
  • Independent Research
  • Foundations of the Scientific Process

Contact Info