Shailee Shah

Postdoctoral Fellow

I study the evolution of social behavior and how social behavior, in turn, affects evolution in birds. My work focuses on Superb Starlings, a species common across East Africa. I combine behavioral ecology and population genomics methods to understand the role of sociality in the natural world.

I got my start in science right here at the Cornell Lab as an undergraduate (class of 2014). After graduating, I received my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Columbia University, where I started working on a long-term Superb Starling study based at Mpala Research Center in Kenya, started by my advisor, Dr. Dustin Rubenstein. From there I completed a postdoc at the University of Rochester under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Chen. There, I worked on the population genetics of the Florida Scrub-Jay, with data from another long-term study based at the Archbold Biological Station in Florida. 

I am excited to be back at the Cornell Lab, with support from the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology. I plan to continue exploring my interest in social evolution and expand my training in genomics as part of the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program.


Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Columbia University
B.A., Biology, Cornell University

Outside the Cornell Lab

I read a lot of books; in another life (or maybe later in life) I would love to own a bookstore. Currently, I am an avid patron of Odyssey Bookstore and the Tompkins County Public Library!

Woman stands in a building
Center Biodiversity Studies & Higher Education

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Golden-cheeked Warbler by Bryan Calk/Macaulay Library