Dr. Kendra Sewall

Biological Sciences

Kendra Sewall is an associate professor of biological sciences specializing in animal behavior and neuroethology. Research in the Sewall lab seeks to understand how neural and behavioral processes — and the environmental and developmental factors that impact those processes — contribute to animal survival and reproductive success. This work pertains to understanding the proximate basis of adaptive and dysfunctional behavior, and is also relevant to understanding the evolution of the brain and behavior. Dr. Sewall teaches courses in neuroscience through the College of Science, as well as a course in Animal Cognition. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2013, she was an NRSA postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Behavior and Behavioral Neuroscience at Duke University.

Kendra Sewall, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences.

Current research projects in the Sewall lab address the impacts of early ecological and social conditions on brain development and adaptive behavior using songbirds as a model system. Additionally, a long-term project focuses on the impacts of human habitat disturbance on the behavior and underlying brain mechanisms of wild populations of song sparrows.

Email address         

Lab Website

Recent Relevant Publications

Sewall KB, RC Anderson, J Soha, S Peters, and S Nowicki. (in press). Early life conditions that impact song learning in male zebra finches also impact neural and behavioral responses to song in females. Developmental Neurobiology

Davies SP, Beck MLP, and Sewall KB. (2018). Territorial aggression in urban and rural song sparrows is correlated with corticosterone, but not testosterone. Hormones and Behavior 98:8-15. Doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.11.010

Campbell SA, Beck ML, Sewall KB (2017). Hatching asynchrony impacts cognition in male zebra finches. Journal of Experimental Zoology. 1:1-9. Doi:10.1002/jez.2074

Sewall, KB and Davies S. (2017). Two neural measures differ between urban and rural song sparrows after conspecific playback. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2017.00046

Sewall KB, Young A, Wright TF (2016). Social dynamics as an evolutionary driver of vocal learning. Animal Behaviour. 120: 163-172. doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.07.031

Beck ML, Davies S, Moore IT, Schoenle LA, Kerman K, Vernasco BJ, and Sewall KB. (2016). Beeswax corticosterone Implants Produce Long-Term Elevation of Plasma Corticosterone and Influence Condition.” General and Comparative Endocrinology 233: 109–14. doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.05.021.

For a complete list of published work, please see Dr. Sewall’s website.