October Grad Spotlight: Jenn Houtz


I am a first-year PhD student in the Vitousek Lab. My research interests include neuroendocrinology, behavioral ecology, and microbial ecology. During my doctoral research, I intend to characterize the impacts of gut microbiome composition on host phenotypic traits vital to stress responsiveness and their fitness consequences. More specifically, I’m interested in the mechanistic links between the gut microbiome and stress-related changes in physiology, behavior, and brain development in tree swallows.


Outside research, I am passionate about public outreach and citizen science efforts. I love to encourage younger generations to confidently pursue a career in STEM by sharing my own experiences with them. I also love hiking, kayaking, and dancing (ballet, jazz, and tap) in my spare time!