Christina Doelling

Christina Doelling

MSc Student
Dairy Cattle


After graduating from Columbia College in 2012 with a B.F.A. in sculpture, I decided to go back to school to pursue my love of animal behavior and welfare. I completed a post-baccalaureate in advanced biological studies at Northwestern University, where I also assisted in the administration of four biomedical research laboratories.

In December 2018, I travelled to La Suerte Biological Field Station in Costa Rica to participate in a research opportunity with Dr. Laura Bolt of the University of Toronto, Mississauga. There, I studied the social dynamics and alloparenting behavior of mantled howler monkeys. I also served as a research assistant, collecting data for the La Suerte Forest Fragmentation and Primate Behavioral Ecology Project under supervisors Bolt and Amy Schreier, Ph.D, a behavioral ecologist at Regis University.

I then joined as the Research Coordinator at the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago in July 2019.  I managed the center’s administrative duties and ongoing research projects on the grounds and with external collaborators. Additionally, I supervised the internship program and trained interns in primate behavioral data collection methods. My personal research from this time with zoo-housed primates examined the correlation between wound receipt and personality in Japanese macaques across the Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions and assessed the cognitive performance and welfare of Japanese macaques performing touchscreen tasks in view of the public. I am currently working on a publication which quantifies and examines predictors of wound receipt in bonobos across all Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions for the first time.

The Animal Welfare Program at UBC has a great reputation and I am eager to start my transition from primate welfare to dairy cattle welfare under the supervision of Dr. Weary and Dr. von Keyserlingk. I chose this program due to the progressive applied dairy welfare research, collaborative environment, wonderful people, and of course the cows!

I am broadly interested in individual differences and how personality affects welfare in captive, group-living animals. Specifically, I am interested in refining handling and training strategies on farms to take into account the individual animal’s personality and life history within the context of the entire social group. 


Post-Baccalaureate in Biological Sciences, Northwestern University (2019)

BFA, Columbia College Chicago (2012)

Recent Publications

Doelling, C. R., Cronin, K.A., Ross, S.R., & Hopper, L.M. (2021). The relationship between personality, season, and wounding receipt in zoo-housed Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata): A multi-institutional study. American Journal of Primatology, 83(1), e23332.

Huskisson, S.M., Doelling, C. R., Ross, S.R., & Hopper, L.M. (2021). Assessing the potential impact of zoo visitors on the welfare and cognitive performance of Japanese macaques. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 243, 10543.