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Dustin Rubenstein, Ph.D.

Faculty Affiliate, Bioethics

Dustin Rubenstein is a Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University in the City of New York. At Columbia, he is the Director of the Center for Integrative Animal Behavior and Chair of the University Seminar in the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, as well as an Affiliate Member of the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and a Faculty Mentor in the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior.

As an innovative leader in undergraduate education, Rubenstein helped create the Program in Tropical Biology and Sustainability, a semester-long study abroad program in Africa, and the sTEAM Fellows Program, a team-based interdisciplinary summer research program for first year students from underrepresented groups. He was also the youngest faculty member to lecture in Frontiers of Science, part of Columbia College’s undergraduate Core Curriculum.

Rubenstein received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1999 where he was a Reynolds Scholar following graduation, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2006 as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellow in the Biological Sciences. He was then awarded a Miller Research Fellowship to conduct postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley from 2006-2009.

He has held appointments at the American Museum of Natural History, the National Museums of Kenya, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In recognition of his research accomplishments, Rubenstein has received young investigator awards from the Animal Behavior Society, the American Ornithologists’ Union, the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, and the University of Michigan. He is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society and has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences as both a Kavli Fellow for his research accomplishments and as an Education Fellow in the Sciences for his innovation in STEM teaching. Additionally, he has been acknowledged for his teaching, scholarship, and mentoring by Columbia University with a Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award and by the Society of Columbia Graduates with a Great Teacher Award.

His research takes an integrative approach to understand why complex animal societies form and how organisms cope with environmental change through studies that combine behavior, ecology, and evolution with those of the underlying molecular and neuroendocrine mechanisms. He has studied a variety of animals, including reptiles, birds, mammals, crustaceans, and insects in Central and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Rubenstein is the author of over 100 publications, as well as co-editor of the book Comparative Social Evolution and co-author of the market-leading textbook Animal Behavior.

He is a 2023–2024 member of the Executive Committee of the Columbia University School of Professional Studies.