Jill Penn

Dr. Jill Penn

Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry

School of Science and Tech
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Jill Penn holds a B.S. in engineering chemistry from Oakland University and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Princeton University. Her graduate work was on the genetic regulation of sex determination using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, where she studied the genetics of aggressive behavior and social defeat. Prior to coming to GGC she was a lecturer at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and an adjunct professor at Emmanuel College in Boston.

Penn’s research interests include conservation, avian genetics, and human behavioral genetics. She regularly volunteers at Panola Mountain State Park and Jekyll Island banding stations. Ongoing research projects include noninvasive methods for isolating DNA from molted feathers, barcoding songbirds and analyzing genetic variability in brown-headed nuthatch populations.


  • Doctorate – molecular biology – Princeton University
  • Bachelor’s – engineering chemistry – Oakland University

Professional Affiliations

  • Georgia Ornithological Society
  • Association of Southeastern Biologists