Cunningham Lab

Clinical Professor
Molecular Pathobiology
New York University College of Dentistry
137 East 25th Street, Room 527
New York, New York 10010

Office: 212-998-9618


Elena Cunningham teaches anatomy and is an anthropologist whose research focus is cognition in primates. Although these may seem like disparate careers, for Elena these endeavors are complementary and related. To understand mechanisms of knowledge acquisition and the function of learning, she has observed primates in forests in Venezuela and Madagascar and has conducted experiments with primates in reserves and zoos. Elena brings this curiosity about the learning process and an openness to trying new methods to her course design and teaching.

Elena received her PhD in Anthropology from the City University of New York in 2003. She joined the faculty of NYU College of Dentistry in 2004. Her contributions to the College have been recognized with a Dean’s Award, induction into the Academy of Distinguished Educators, and the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. Elena’s research has been funded by the University Research Challenge Fund, The LSB Leakey Foundation, The Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the National Geographic Society.