The Organization for Human-Animal Interaction Research and Education (OHAIRE)

Discover how we're advancing the science behind the bond.


The Organization for Human-Animal Interaction Research and Education (OHAIRE) is a research group led by Dr. Maggie O'Haire. It includes national and international collaborators, students, and community members working together to conduct rigorous scientific research on the unique and pervasive effects of interacting with animals.

Learn more about our current projects.

Current Research in Human-Animal Interaction

The OHAIRE Group is a leading voice in several new areas of discovery related to human-animal interaction. Our overarching research examines the possible role of human-animal interaction in enhancing human mental health and wellness. Our current research projects focus on three key areas:

Service dogs
Facility dogs
coding for HAI
dog holding person's hand


Why learn about human-animal interaction?

Human-Animal Interaction encompasses many relationships with animals, including companion animals, emotional support animals, working animals, and any kind of Animal-Assisted Intervention. At the OHAIRE lab, we look at both positive and negative aspects of Animal-Assisted Intervention and Human-Animal Interaction. Through this process, we hope to obtain a more comprehensive picture of the unique and pervasive interactions between humans and animals. Our goal is to conduct meaningful, clinically relevant research that enhances the interactions and outcomes for both parties.

Learn more about our areas of focus on essential human-animal interactions.


Discover More

We are committed to exploration. Learn more about how we're expanding our knowledge in veterinary medicine.

CVM Research


Meet the OHAIRE Team

Maggie OHaire

Dr. Maggie O'Haire, Associate Dean for Research

Dr. Marguerite (Maggie) O’Haire is an internationally recognized Fulbright Scholar and the Associate Dean for Research at the College of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her BA in Psychology from Vassar College in New York and her PhD in Psychology from The University of Queensland in Australia. Her research program focuses on the unique and pervasive ways humans interact with animals.

Clara Jensen

Clara Jensen, Graduate Student

Clare joined the OHAIRE Lab as a project coordinator in January 2018 and began her PhD in August 2018. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, where she researched augmentation of taste aversion learning. After graduating, Clare also worked as a project coordinator on a crime reduction study through the University of Michigan School of Public Health. At Purdue, Clare is part of the NIH-funded study focusing on the efficacy of service dogs for military veterans with PTSD. This focus will build into her upcoming dissertation.  


Leanne Nieforth, Graduate Student

Leanne began her PhD in the OHAIRE Lab in August 2019. She earned her Master of Science in Communication and her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science at North Carolina State University. Before joining the OHAIRE Lab, her research focused on the human-horse interaction during equine-assisted mental health sessions. At Purdue, Leanne is part of the NIH-funded study focusing on the efficacy of service dogs for veterans with PTSD. She is particularly interested in service dogs' influence on family dynamics. 

ohaire lab em

Elise Miller

Elise joined the OHAIRE lab in August 2020. As a Data-Focused Undergraduate Research Assistant, she has mainly worked on data preparation and analysis for our NIH-funded study in collaboration with service dog provider K9s For Warriors. In August of 2021, she took on the Lead Data Research Assistant role and currently leads our team of data-focused undergraduate research assistants in various data-related projects. Elise will graduate from Purdue University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Data Science, a second major in Applied Statistics, and minors in Mathematics and Spanish.

ohaire lab

Sarah Leighton

Sarah joined the OHAIRE Lab as a PhD student in 2021. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Neurobiology & Animal Behavior at Cornell University and will receive a Master of Science in Human-Animal Interaction from Purdue University in 2022. Starting in 2010, Sarah gained extensive experience in the assistance dog industry through her work with Canine Companions, a national nonprofit service dog provider, and subsequently as an expert consultant. As part of her industry work, Sarah was closely involved in the research and development of programs to place service dogs with military veterans with PTSD and children with autism spectrum disorder, topics which she continues to explore in her work with the OHAIRE Lab.

Thanks to our research sponsors

We appreciate the ongoing support for our continuing exploration of human-animal interactions.

Our Sponsors

Recent NEws & Publications

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