Maryjka B. Blaszczyk, MBChB, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Maryjka Blaszczyk
(pronunciation: MA-ray-ka BLASH-chick)
I am an interdisciplinary scholar with broad training and research interests across the biological and evolutionary sciences.
I earned a MBChB degree (South Africa’s equivalent of the U.S. 'MD') from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. While in medical school, I became interested in human and primate evolution, and additionally studied towards a BSc (Med) with a major in Anatomy. This work led to me to publish on gait parameters in Homo floresiensis together with Kit Vaughan. I relocated to the U.S. to begin postgraduate training in Biological Anthropology at New York University in 2007, and completed a MA in primate evolutionary genetics at NYU's Molecular Anthropology Laboratory.
For my PhD, I switched focus to the evolutionary ecology of individual behavioral differences, or personality traits. My dissertation – 'Personality and Social Niche Specialization in Wild Vervet Monkeys' – examined the ecological correlates of variation in traits such as ‘boldness’, ‘reactivity’, and ‘sociability’ in vervets (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) in South Africa. I developed novel techniques to measure these behavioral traits in a field setting, using a combination of field experiments and naturalistic behavioral observations, and examined how personality was related to behaviors relevant to fitness, such as predator inspection, foraging behavior and spatial behavior.
I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Primate Molecular and Ecology Lab in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. My current research projects include working on a comparative study of individual differences in sociospatial behavior and social network structure in ateline primates with Anthony Di Fiore.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Blaszczyk M.B. 2017. Boldness towards novel objects predicts predator inspection in wild vervet monkeys. Animal Behaviour 123: 91-100. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.10.01. PDF
Vaughan C.L., Blaszczyk M.B. 2008. Dynamic similarity predicts gait parameters for Homo floresiensis and the Laetoli hominins. American Journal of Human Biology 20(3): 312-316. PDF
Blaszczyk M.B., Vaughan C.L. 2007. Re-interpreting the evidence for bipedality in Homo floresiensis: research letter. South African Journal of Science 103: 409-414. PDF
Blaszczyk M.B. Novelty Seeking in wild vervet monkeys. In: Cross-Disciplinary Research in Chlorocebus. Turner T., Cramer, J.D., and Schmitt, C.A., Eds. Cambridge Press. In press.
Articles in review or in preparation
Blaszczyk M.B. Consistency in social network position over changing environments in a seasonally breeding primate. In review, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
Blaszczyk M.B. The trouble with boldness: proactive and reactive responses to threat are not always opposite poles of the same trait. In prep.
Blaszczyk M.B. The promise of personality research in wild primates. In prep.
Blaszczyk M.B. In press. Individual differences in spatial position during collective movements of vervet monkeys. Am J Phys Anthropol
Blaszczyk M.B. 2016. Temporal stability in social network metrics among wild vervet monkeys. Am J Phys Anthropol 159 (S62): 97-97.
Blaszczyk M.B. 2015. Boldness in wild vervet monkeys: individual differences and consistency across contexts. Am J Phys Anthropol 156 (S60): 88-88.
Blaszczyk M.B. 2014. Novel object exploration in wild vervet monkeys. Am J Phys Anthropol 153 (S58): 80-80.
Blaszczyk M.B. 2013. Measurement of individual differences in novelty seeking in wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) using a group-based approach. Am J Phys Anthropol 150 (S56): 82-83.
Vaughan C.L. & Blaszczyk M.B. 2007. Dynamic similarity predicts gait parameters for Homo floresiensis and the Laetoli hominins. Journal of Biomechanics 40: S40.
Maryjka B. Blaszczyk
Mailing address: Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, 2201 Speedway Stop C3200, Austin, TX 78712
2016 -- Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology – New York University (U.S.A.)
Dissertation: Personality and Social Niche Specialization in Wild Vervet Monkeys
2009 -- M.A. in Biological Anthropology – New York University (U.S.A.)
2007 -- B.Sc. (Med) – University of Cape Town (South Africa) Major: Anatomy
2006 -- M.B.Ch.B (equivalent to U.S. M.D.) – University of Cape Town (South Africa)
With Distinction in the Pre-Clinical Examinations and the degree with First Class Honours
2016-present -- Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
2016 -- Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Texas State University
2016 -- Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Boston University
2008 - 2013 -- Adjunct Instructor, Department of Anthropology, New York University
GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS
(Other than those with with published abstracts)
2016 -- Primate Behavior. Department of Anthropology, Texas State University
2013 -- Human Evolution. Department of Anthropology, New York University
Adjunct instructor/teaching assistant
2008 – 2013 -- Human Evolution. Department of Anthropology, New York University
2010 – 2011 -- Human Origins. Department of Anthropology, New York University
SERVICE AND OUTREACH
2016 -- Mentor, “Using R for Biological Anthropology” Workshop at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists annual conference, Atlanta, GA.
2016 – 2017 -- ‘Girl Day at UT Austin’ – outreach festival showcasing STEM fields to K 1-12 girls in Austin, TX
2015 – 2016 -- Community Science Fairs for ‘Hot Science, Cool talks’ at UT Austin
2015 -- Participant, Working Group on “Ethoinformatics: Developing data services and a standard “etho-grammar” for behavioral research”. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.
2013 -- Participant, Working Group on “Ethoinformatics: Developing data services and a standard “etho-grammar” for behavioral research”. Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
2011-- Co-chair, Graduate student job search committee, Dept. of Anthropology, NYU
2011-- Science Communication Workshop series, Carter Journalism Institute, New York University. Instructor: Steven Hall of the NYTimes.
2010 -- Graduate student job search committee, Dept. of Anthropology, NYU
PhD project field assistants