Symposium Speakers 2022

Anindita Bhadra (Indian Institute of Science Education & Research Kolkata)

Dr. Anindita Bhadra is a behavioural biologist at the Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Kolkata. She founded the Dog Lab at IISER Kolkata, which is engaged in studying the behaviour, ecology and cognitive abilities of dogs using the free-ranging /stray dogs in India as a model system. She is particularly interested in understanding the evolution of the dog-human relationship. Much of her work on free-ranging dogs has been highlighted by the scientific and public media. Dr. Bhadra is the recipient of the INSA young scientist award, SERB women excellence award, IAP young scientist award and the Janaki Ammal National Women Bioscientist award Young category. She was involved in the founding of the Indian National Young Academy of Science (INYAS) in 2014, and was the Chairperson of INYAS during its first three years of existence. She has been a member of the Global Young Academy since 2016, where she was a Co-Chair during 2020-21. Anindita believes in the responsibility of a scientist in engaging with the society and is actively engaged in various science outreach activities, including popular science writing in both English and Bangla. She is currently the Associate Dean of International Relations and Outreach at IISER Kolkata. A mother of two, she is also a professional thespian and leads the Bangla theatre group mukhOsh with her husband.

John-Tyler Binfet (University of British Columbia)

Dr. John-Tyler Binfet holds a Ph.D. in educational and counseling psychology from the University of British Columbia and is a former teacher and school counsellor. In his current role, Dr. Binfet is an associate professor and the Director of the Centre for Mindful Engagement in the Faculty of Education at UBC. He is also the founder and Director of UBC’s Building Academic Retention through K9s (B.A.R.K.) program and routinely oversees 60 therapy dogs brought to campus in support of student stress-reduction. Dr. Binfet’s research attesting to the benefits of spending time with therapy dogs has been published in Anthrozoos, Journal of Animal Welfare, and the Journal of Mental Health among elsewhere. His recent co-authored book on Canine-Assisted Interventions (Routledge, 2020) is a veritable “how to” manual exploring the characteristics and assessment of therapy dog-handler teams. Dr. Binfet serves as the Chair of the Development Committee for the International Society for Anthrozoology, an association devoted to showcasing and celebrating human-animal interaction research. When not researching the effects of canine interventions, Dr. Binfet researches school-situated kindness. He is the lead author of the School Kindness Scale, the first measure to empirically assess school kindness, and his new book (Cultivating Kindness; University of Toronto Press 2022), showcases findings from his research asking over 3,000 students about what it means to be kind in school. Dr. Binfet’s passion for therapy dogs combined with his advocacy for student well-being and kindness is showcased in his blog for Psychology Today titled Canine, Kids, and Kindness!/

Brian Hare (Duke University)

Dr. Brian Hare is a core member of the Center of Cognitive Neuroscience, a Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology, and Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. Hare is the Director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center and has published over 100 scientific papers. Hare’s first book with co-author Vanessa Woods, The Genius of Dogs is a New York Times Bestseller.

Jeffrey Katz (Auburn University)

Dr. Jeffrey Katz’s research focuses on the comparative mechanisms of learning and cognition. Ongoing projects involve behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods to investigate dog-human attachment, concept learning, observational drawing, and the behavioral and neural correlates of working dogs. He is currently the Michael and Leann Morsani Rowe Endowed Professor in the College of Liberal Arts. He is an Associate Editor for Animal Cognition. He has been honored with the APA's Division 3 (Experimental Psychology) 2001 Young Investigator Award, Psi Chi Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2001-2002, 2012-2013), CLA Early Career Teaching Award (2004-2005), APA Fellow Division 3, Experimental Psychology (2007) and Division 6, Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (2008), an Auburn University Alumni Professorship (2006-2011), inducted into the CLA Academy of Teaching and Outstanding Teachers (2012), Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (2015), and Honors College Professor of the Year, Auburn University (2016).  He served as the secretary and president of the International Comparative Cognition Society and received the Comparative Cognition Society Recognition of Service Award (2014). He has a history of teaching and research grants from DARPA, DOD, NEA, NIH, and NSF.

Patricia Pendry (Washington State University)

Dr. Patricia Pendry is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Graduate faculty member in the Prevention Science Program at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Applying a biobehavioral perspective, she conducts randomized controlled trials in real-life settings to determine the effects of animal assisted interventions (AAI) on individuals’ physiological and affective regulation associated with mental health and academic success. Drawing from literatures from human development, psychoneuroendocrinology, anthrozoology, prevention science, and animal behavior, outcomes of interest are the basal, diurnal and momentary activity of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis, executive function and moment-to-moment emotion states of humans. In addition to understanding for whom and under what conditions incorporating Human Animal Interactions (HAI) can enhance the efficacy of stress-prevention programs, her work examines the active components and mechanisms that facilitate treatment effects, including the quality of dyadic and triadic behavior of animals, their handlers and AAI clients during AAIs. Her educational background includes a B.Phil. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Child Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University, IL. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Research Methods, Stress and Coping, Child Development, and Policy Issues in Human Development. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she is a life-long equestrian and animal lover. She lives ‘in the country’, raises 4 children, dogs, horses, cats, and chickens, and occasionally sheep.

Friederike Range (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna)

Dr. Friederike Range studied biology at the University of Bayreuth, Germany (1992-1998). Continuing her research on the monkeys in West Afrika, she did a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. In 2004 she returned to Europe engaging in postdoctoral research at the University of Vienna, where she started to investigate canine behaviour and cognition. In 2007, she was one of the founders of the Clever Dog Lab ( and 2008 of the Wolf Science Center (Wolf Science Center). Since September 2011 she has been employed at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. Since 2019 she is an Associate Prof heading the Domestication Lab.

Her research in the past years focussed mainly on the effects of domestication by studying wolves and dogs. Particularly she is interested in understanding the proximate mechanisms underlying cooperation and the factors that might influence social relationships within and across species (e.g. human-animal relationship). In recent years, fieldwork has caught up again and she and her team have started to expand their research to free-ranging populations of wolves and dogs to understand also how their socio-ecology might shape these skills.

Kerri Rodriguez (Colorado State University)

Dr. Kerri Rodriguez is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human-Animal Bond in Colorado (HABIC) in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. Prior to joining HABIC, she received her Ph.D. in Human-Animal Interaction from the Purdue University Center for the Human-Animal Bond in 2020. With a research background in both canine cognition and human-animal interaction, her research focuses on quantifying outcomes from positive human-dog relationships, particularly among companion dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs. Dr. Rodriguez's research has been published and presented internationally and featured in many major media outlets including New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, People Magazine, and the Washington Post.