We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Dr Sharon Kessler

Personal web page

Marie Curie Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

Contact Dr Sharon Kessler (email at

Thank you for visiting my website. My work integrates disease ecology and animal cognition. I am interested in the role of cognition in the evolution of behavioral defenses against infectious disease.

I earned my PhD in 2014 from Arizona State University, then obtained three independent, internationally competitive postdoctoral fellowships in computer simulation modeling (McGill University, Canada), virology (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Germany) and primate disease signaling (Durham University, England).

For more information please see my personal website:

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Primate behaviour and cognition
  • Health signalling
  • Evolutionary medicine
  • Conservation medicine
  • Evolution of care-giving in humans
  • Agent-based models
  • Bioacoustics


  • 1: Durden, Lance A., Kessler, Sharon E., Radespiel, Ute, Zimmermann, Elke, Hasiniaina, Alida F. & Zohdy, Sarah (2018). A New Species of Sucking Louse (Phthiraptera: Anoplura: Polyplacidae) From the Gray Mouse Lemur, Microcebus murinus (Primates: Cheirogaleidae), in Madagascar. Journal of Medical Entomology 55(4): 910-914.
  • 2: Kessler, Sharon E., Radespiel, Ute, Hasiniaina, Alida I. F., Nash, Leanne T. & Zimmermann, Elke (2018). Does the grey mouse lemur use agonistic vocalizations to recognise kin? Contributions to Zoology 87(4): 261-274.
  • 3: Kessler, Sharon E., Bonnell, Tyler R., Setchell, Joanna M. & Chapman, Colin A. (2018). Social Structure Facilitated the Evolution of Care-giving as a Strategy for Disease Control in the Human Lineage. Scientific Reports 8(1): 13997.
  • 4: Kessler, Sharon E. (2017). Capture-Recapture. In The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. 1.
  • 5: Kessler, Sharon E. (2017). Prosimian Communication. In Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. 1.
  • 6: Kessler, S., Bonnell, T., Byrne, R. & Chapman, C. (2017). Selection to outsmart the germs: The evolution of disease recognition and social cognition. Journal of Human Evolution 108: 92-109.
  • 7: Kessler, Sharon E., Radespiel, Ute, Nash, Leanne T. & Zimmermann, Elke (2016). Modeling the origins of primate sociality: social flexibility and kinship in mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.). In The Dwarf and Mouse Lemurs of Madagascar. 422.
  • 8: Kessler, Sharon E., Radespiel, Ute, Schaber, Kathrin S. & Strube, Christina (2016). Tiny samples from tiny lemurs: methodological considerations for endoparasite analyses in mouse lemurs. In The Dwarf and Mouse Lemurs of Madagascar. 210.
  • 9: Kessler, S. E., Scheumann, M., Hanbury, D. B., Nash, L. T., Zimmermann, E. & Watson, S. L. (2015). Screams in the Night: Pilot Study Reveals Moderate Evidence for Individual Differences in Lorisoid Vocalizations. International Journal of Primatology 36(3): 666-678.
  • 10: Radespiel, Ute, Schaber, K., Kessler, S. E., Schaarschmidt, F. & Strube, C. (2015). Variations in the excretion patterns of helminth eggs in two sympatric mouse lemur species (Microcebus murinus and M. ravelobensis) in northwestern Madagascar. Parasitology Research 114(3): 941-954.
  • 11: Kessler, Sharon E., Radespiel, Ute, Hasiniaina, Alida I. F., Leliveld, Lisette M. C., Nash, Leanne T. & Zimmermann, Elke (2014). Modeling the origins of mammalian sociality: moderate evidence for matrilineal signatures in mouse lemur vocalizations. Frontiers in Zoology 11(1): 14.
  • 12: Kessler, Sharon E., Scheumann, Marina, Nash, Leanne T & Zimmermann, Elke (2012). Paternal kin recognition in the high frequency / ultrasonic range in a solitary foraging mammal. BMC Ecology 12(1): 26.
  • 13: Kessler, S.E. & Nash, L.T. (2010). Grandmothering in Galago senegalensis braccatus (Senegal Galago). African Primates 7(1): 42-49.