Clara Howell,
Evolutionary Neuroscience

Areas of Research

Broadly, I am interested in the mechanisms of and the constraints on the evolution of cognitive abilities. 

I use zebra finches as a study system and have worked on projects involving cognitive performance and mate choice and the effects of heat on brain tissue and behavior. I am a member of the Nowicki Lab at Duke University and a former member of the Derryberry lab at the University of Tennessee.




Howell, C., Anderson, R., and Derryberry, E. 2019.  “Problem-solving ability and mass

affect different aspects of female choice in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)”. Animal Cognition (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-019-01299-6).

Howell, C., Anderson, R., and Derryberry, E. “Female zebra finches (Taeniopygia

guttata) prefer the songs of males who are able to solve a novel-foraging task”. Scientific Reports, in review.



BA, Tulane University

2013 - 2017
Summa Cum Laude

I received a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I continue to use my background in English in scientific writing and research.

BS, Tulane University

2013 - 2017 
Summa Cum Laude

I received a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Neuroscience. I worked in Elizabeth Derryberry's lab as an undergraduate, and my Honors Thesis was on the role of cognitive ability in song quality and female mate choice in zebra finches.

MS, University of Tennessee

2017 - 2019

I joined the Derryberry lab in their move to Knoxville and continued to work with Elizabeth Derryberry. My master's thesis was on thermoregulatory behavior in zebra finches. 

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