Dr. Malini Suchak teaches courses in introductory animal behavior, animal cognition (how animals think and make decisions) and animal welfare. All of these topics are encompassed by her research program, which is conducted with a team of undergraduate research assistants. Dr. Suchak’s research explores how nonhuman animals think about other individuals in their social group and make decisions about their social relationships. She previously worked with chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys, and currently explores these questions in companion animals like cats and dogs. She is particularly fascinated with how companion animals navigate a multi-species world, interacting with others of their own kind, other pets, and their human companions. Dr. Suchak also looks at how social interactions with others can impact an individual’s welfare, such as the impact of group housing on cats living in animal shelters. Cats are not known for being the most social creatures, so it is important to understand the impact of different housing systems on their well being. Dr. Suchak and her research team routinely present the results of their research at local and international conferences and have published numerous papers on this topic in peer-reviewed journals.
College of Arts and Sciences Full Time Faculty Teaching Award
National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellow
Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) HOPE-GM Fellow
Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society Member
Tri Beta Biological Honor Society Member
Suchak, M. and Lamica, J. (2018). A comparison of cats (Felis sylvestris catus) housed in groups and single cages at a shelter: A retrospective matched cohort study. Animals, 8, 29-43.
Suchak, M., Watzek, J., Quarles, L.F., and de Waal, F.B.M. (2018). Novice chimpanzees cooperate successfully in the presence of experts, but may have limited understanding of the task. Animal Cognition, 21, 87-98.
Hoffman, C.L. and Suchak, M. (2017). Dog rivalry impacts following behavior in a decision-making task involving food. Animal Cognition, 20, 689-701.
Suchak, M., Piombino, M., and Bracco, K. (2016). Predictors of sociability in colony housed shelter cats (Felis silvestris catus). Pet Behavior Science, 2, 24-33.
Suchak, M., Eppley, T.M., Campbell, M.W., Feldman R.A., Quarles, L.F. and de Waal, F.B.M. (2016). How chimpanzees cooperate in a competitive world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 10215-10220. doi:10.1073/pnas.1611826113.