Jessica Perry Hekman, DVM, PhD

jph @ dogzombie . com
jphekman @ arborius . net
ImpactStory page


University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

PhD, 2017: Animal Sciences / Genomics, Genetics, and Bioinformatics, in Dr. Anna Kukekova's laboratory. Dissertation title: "Transcriptome Analysis of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis in the Experimentally Domesticated Fox."

Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

DVM, 2012

Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

MS, 2012: Comparative Biomedical Sciences, "Stress in hospitalized dogs"

Harvard University

AB, History and Literature of the Middle Ages, 1995


Post-doctoral associate 2017-present

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in Karlsson Lab

Shelter medicine internship 2012-2013

University of Florida, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, completed 2013

Computer programming consultant 2000-2012

Managed complicated structured data, for online publishing and other ventures, using XML, SQL, Java, PHP, Perl, AJAX, and other technologies

Online publishing developer 1996-2000

Wrote tools to transform printed material into online version.

Research Interests
  • Canine domestication
  • Canine stress; the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
  • Canine genetics
  • Data analysis for population management in animal shelters
  • Shelter behavior; protocols for enrichment of animals in shelters; protocols for behavior modification of behaviorally challenged animals in shelters

ScienceSeeker 2010-2015

Acted as chief architect of a science blogging indexing site which aims to provide order to the chaos of the science blogosphere

The Dog Zombie 2009-present

Maintain blog about the stress response in mammals, canine behavior, canine domestication, shelter medicine, animal welfare, and other topics


Online classes and webinars

Taught online classes on genetics, neurobiology, endocrinology, and shelter behavioral assessment for a lay audience with the International Association of Applied Animal Behavior Consultants, the Pet Professional Guild, the Academy for Dog Trainers, and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Assisted Dr. Anna Kukekova with her class for upper-level undergraduates, Behavior of Domestic Animals. Developed presentation topics for students, presented quizzes using student response system (iClicker), and lectured on shelter medicine and behavior problems in dogs and cats.


Hekman, Jessica P., Alicia Z. Karas, and Claire R. Sharp. "Psychogenic Stress in Hospitalized Dogs: Cross Species Comparisons, Implications for Health Care, and the Challenges of Evaluation." Animals 4, no. 2 (2014): 331-347. Open access

Hekman, Jessica P., Alicia Z. Karas, and Nancy A. Dreschel. "Salivary cortisol concentrations and behavior in a population of healthy dogs hospitalized for elective procedures." Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2012). Open access on PMC

Hekman, Jessica; Karas, Alicia (2013): Salivary cortisol in healthy hospitalized dogs. figshare.