New faculty spotlight: Mystera Samuelson, PhD

Mystera Samuelson, PhD

Mystera Samuelson, PhD, is a new faculty member at UNMC.

  • Name: Mystera Samuelson, PhD              
  • Hometown: Belgrade, Montana
  • Title and department at UNMC: Assistant professor, Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, UNMC College of Public Health; director, Animal Behavior Core, UNMC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

Research/professional interests: I am an ethologist (the study of animal behavior). My work focuses on the confluence of comparative behavior and cognition, animal welfare and human health. This includes the development and refinement of targeted behavioral and cognitive assays that better enable us to assess and compare constructs across species and environements, as well as how human health is impacted by changes to animal handling, habitat use and other factors.

How I fell in love with ethology and comparative cognition: I attribute this facination to the fact that I grew up in southwestern Montana observing wildlife with my parents, who always supported my interest in science and passion for the outdoors.


  • BS, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
  • MS, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
  • PhD, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi


  • American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
  • American Psychological Association
  • Division 6, Animal Behavior Management Alliance
  • Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities
  • Comparative Cognition Society
  • International Society of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • The Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology

Three things people may not know about me:

  • I am a former wildlife rehabber, which enabled me to work with a lot of interesting species in odd predicaments.
  • According to my two children, my assigned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is Donatello.
  • Despite my best efforts to get on board, I strongly dislike cooking and baking and will avoid it whenever possible.