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Priv.-Doz. Dr. Dustin J. Penn

Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology
Department of Interdisciplinary Life Sciences
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
Savoyenstr. 1a
A-1160 Vienna

T +43 (1) 25077 7323
F +43 (1) 25077 94 7323

E-Mail to Dustin J. Penn


Google Scholar Profile


My research is largely focused on sexual selection and communication, and I am particularly interested in complex courtship signals. I mainly work on house mice, though my students and I study a variety of species. I have broad interests in behavioral biology, evolutionary biology (including host-pathogen interactions), evolutionary genetics, and I am interested in integrating these areas with applied sciences, including medicine (‘Darwinian medicine’) and conservation biology.

Current projects

  • Functions of major urinary proteins (MUPs) in chemical communication (Austrian Science Foundation (FWF) grant P24711-B21)
  • Adaptive functions of ultrasonic vocalizations in male mice (Austrian Science Foundation (FWF) grant)
  • Sounds and pheromones: neural networks merging olfactory and acoustic cues in sexual imprinting (grant funded by the Human Frontier Science Program, co-applicant, grant)   
  • Evolution of honest signalling (in collaboration with Szabolcs Számadó)
  • Multiple male mating  in house mice
  • Pathogen-mediated sexual selection
  • Voice Prints: Individual Signatures and Recognition in Mice (Austrian Science Foundation (FWF, Co-author, grant)  

Behavioural Biology Lab


I have a course on Darwinian Medicine, lead the institute's Journal Club (topics in behavioral ecology), and give practical courses in Experimental Design and Behavioral Ecology, which are offered for credit at the University of Vienna. Teaching

Public outreach and education

I wrote a guide and a website about the Evolution/Creationism controversy for the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), which is called 'Evolution Matters', and it is currently being translated into different languages.

Curriculum Vitae


2004 Habilitation (Post-Doctoral Thesis), Department of Zoology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
1997 Ph.D., Biology, Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, Advisor: W.K. Potts
1992 M.S., Zoology, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA, Advisor: H.J. Brockmann
1988 B.S., Biology, Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma, USA


2004-present Adjunct Professor (Universitätsdozent), Faculty of Life Sciences, Center for Organismal Systems Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2011-present Director (until 2014) and Senior Scientist, Konrad-Lorenz-Institute of Ethology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
2002-2010 Director and Senior Scientist, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria
2003-2004 Visiting Professor, School of Biology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
1999-2002 Assistant Research Professor, Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
1998-1999 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA


2013-present Associate Editor: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)
  European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)
  International Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE)
  Ethologische Gesellschaft