Jessica Cusick

Faculty Member

Dr. Jessica A. Cusick


Dr. Jessica A. Cusick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Utah Valley University.

Check out my website

I am extremely passionate about teaching and my philosophy on teaching and mentoring stems from the belief that students need an inclusive learning environment where their thoughts and contributions are valued.

Through group discussions, hands-on activities, and one-on-one interactions students get to actively participate in their learning.Through my courses, students will develop critical thinking skills, evaluate scientific evidence, and explore their interests in biology. Through in-class activities, field trips and in-class experiments, and lectures, students will develop skills that prepare them for careers in biology and non-STEM fields.

My research links behavior, ecology, physiology, microbiology, and evolutionary biology to investigate the developmental processes and mechanisms that affect within-population variation in behavior. Using an integrative approach that combines experimental research in the field and laboratory with microbial, physiological and genetic techniques, I aim to understand how genetic, physiological, and environmental cues interact to influence individual variation in behavior. My areas of focus include cooperation, aggression, and reproduction.

Through my research program, I am thrilled to provide students with opportunities to conduct independent research projects and develop skills in science. My research program involves fieldwork, processing data in the lab, and behavioral assessments. I welcome students at all stages in their careers and interests! There are opportunities to assist with ongoing research projects or to develop your own research project.


Ph D, Florida State University, 2019

Major: Biological Science

MS, Florida Atlantic University, 2012

Major: Biological Sciences

BA, SUNY Binghamton University, 2009

Major: Biology and Psychology


BIOL 1010

General Biology BB, Fall 2022

BIOL 4500

Principles of Evolution WE, Fall 2022

BIOL 4500

Principles of Evolution WE, Fall 2022


Student Research, Fall 2022

BIOL 1010 , Fall 2022

BIOL 1010

General Biology BB, Spring 2022

BIOL 1010

General Biology BB, Spring 2022

BIOL 4500

Principles of Evolution WE, Spring 2022

Scholarly/Creative Works

Raby, Cassandra (co-lead) L, Cusick, Jessica (co-lead) A, Fürtbauer, Ines , Graham, Kirsty E., Hauber, Mark E., Madden, Joah R., Strauss, Amy , Fernández-Juricic, Esteban , "An inclusive venue to discuss behavioural biology research_ the first global Animal Behaviour Twitter Conference" . Animal Behaviour.
Cusick, Jessica A., DuVal, Emily H, Cox, James A, (2021) "Breeder aggression does not predict current or future cooperative group formation in a cooperatively breeding bird" (vol. 127). Ethology.
Malinowski, Christopher R., Stacy, Nicole I, Coleman, Felicia C, Cusick, Jessica A, Dugan, Carle M, Koenig, Christopher C, Ragbeer, Natassjia K, Perrault, Justin R, (2021) "Mercury offloading in gametes and potential adverse effects of high mercury concentrations in blood and tissues of Atlantic Goliath Grouper Epinephelus itajara in the southeastern United States." (vol. 779). Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN).
Cusick, Jessica A., Wellman, Cara L., Demas, Greg E. , (2021) "The call of the wild_ using non-model systems to investigate microbiome–behaviour relationships" (Issue: 10, vol. 224). Journal of Experimental Biology.
Adaniya, Kate H, Wellman, Cara L, Demas, Greg E, Cusick, Jessica A, (2021) "The ontogeny of personality_ Repeatability of social and escape behaviors across developmental stages in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). " (vol. 335). Journal of Experimental Zoology .


NIH T32 Common Themes in Reproductive Diversity (CTRD) Postdoctoral Fellow

National Institutes of Health and Indiana University

Warder Clyde Allee Competition Participant

Animal Behavior Society

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award Nominee

Florida State University