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University of Oregon

Evolutionary Medicine Group

The Evolutionary Medicine Group is a discussion and project group started in 2008 by Josh Snodgrass and run through the Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences. The group meets every other week during the academic year to discuss recent research in evolutionary medicine and to develop and pursue collaborative research projects. The group includes members from a variety of UO campus units, including Anthropology, Human Physiology, Political Science, Psychology, and Biology and, additionally, includes participants from Oregon State University, Oregon Social Learning Center, and Oregon Research Institute. If you are interested in learning more about the group, contact Josh Snodgrass

Next Meeting
Future Meetings Schedule
Archive of Past Meetings and Readings
Evolutionary Medicine Resources

Next Meeting

TBA–The Evolutionary Medicine Group is currently on an extended holiday but hopefully will be back in Eugene in January 2014.

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Future Meetings

Schedule TBA

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Archive of Past Meetings and Readings

Thursday, May 30, 2013
Immunogenetics: Non-human Primates as Biomedical Models and Implications of Co-Infection with Helminths and HIV
Enard. 2012. Functional primate genomics–leveraging the medical potential. Journal of Molecular Medicine. (link to article)
Chenine et al. 2008. Acute Schistosoma mansoni infection increases susceptibility to systemic SHIV clade C infection in rhesus macaques after mucosal virus exposure. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. (link to article)
Webb. 2012. Epidemiology and immunology of helminth-HIV interactions. Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS. (link to article)

Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis and its Effects on Cognition, Behavior, and Stress-Related Psychiatric Symptoms
O’Mahony et al. 2009. Early life stress alters behavior, immunity, and microbiota in rats: Implications for irritable bowel syndrome and psychiatric illnesses. Biological Psychiatry. (link to article)
Cryan and Dinan. 2012. Mind-altering microorganisms: The impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. (link to article)
Costandi. 2012. Microbes on your mind. Scientific American Mind. (link to article)

Thursday, May 2, 2013
Sleep, Aging, and Cognitive Decline
Brookmeyer et al. 2007. Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 3: 186-191. (link to article)
Mander et al. 2013. Prefrontal atrophy, disrupted NREM slow waves and impaired hippocampal-dependent memory in aging, in press. (link to article)

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Origin and Management of Malaria
Liu et al. 2010. Origin of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in gorillas. Nature 467. (link to article)
Read et al. 2009. How to Make evolution-proof insecticides for malaria control. PLoS Biology 7. (link to article)

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Social Status and Gene Expression
Tung et al. 2012. Social environment is associated with gene regulatory variation in the rhesus macaque immune system. PNAS 109. (link to article)

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Microbes and Anthropology
Benezra et al. 2012. Anthropology of microbes. PNAS. (link to article)
Tomes. 1999. Introduction. In: The Gospel of Germs. Harvard University Press. (link to article)

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Parasites and Human Evolution
Khan and Fallon. 2013. Helminth therapies: Translating the unknown unknowns to known knowns. International Journal for Parasitology. (link to article)
Machado et al. 2012. Evolutionary History of Copy-Number-Variable Locus for the Low-Affinity Fcg Receptor: Mutation Rate, Autoimmune Disease, and the Legacy of Helminth Infection. American Journal of Human Genetics. (link to article)

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Evolutionary Medicine in Undergraduate Education
Stearns SC. 2011. On designing courses in evolutionary medicine. Evo Edu Outreach 4: 589-594. (link to article)
Antolin MF et al. 2012. Evolution and medicine in undergraduate education: A prescription for all biology students. Evolution 66: 1991-2006. (link to article)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Evolution of HIV and SIV
Chahroudi et al. 2012. Natural SIV Hosts: Showing AIDS the Door. Science 335: 1188-1193. (link to article)
Sharp and Hahn. 2011. Origins of HIV and the AIDS Pandemic. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. (link to article)

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Epigenetics and Mental Health: PTSD
Koenen et al. 2011. SLC6A4 methylation modifies the effect of the number of traumatic events on risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. Depression and Anxiety 28: 639-647. (link to article)
Toyokawa et al. 2012. How does the social environment ‘get into the mind’? Epigenetics at the intersection of social and psychiatric epidemiology. Social Science & Medicine 74: 67-74. (link to article)

Thursday, November 1, 2012
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and Human Disease
Schaub et al. 2012. Linking disease associations with regulatory information in the human genome. Genome Research 22: 1748-1759. (Link to article)
The ENCODE Project Consortium. An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome. Nature 489: 57-74 (Link to article)
Misc. 2012. FORUM: Genomics ENCODE explained. Nature 489: 52-55. (Link to article)
Kolata. 2012. Bits of Mystery DNA, Far From ‘Junk,’ Play Crucial Role. The New York Times; 9/5/12 (Link to article)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Stress and Health: Depression/Loneliness and Protective Factors
Hafner et al. 2012. To live alone and to be depressed, an alarming combination for the renin-angiotensin-aldosteronesystem
(RAAS). Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Chen et al. 2012. Protective factors for adults from low-childhood socioeconomic circumstances: The benefits of shift-and-persist for allostatic load. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Plasticity, Genetics, and Adaptation
Kuzawa and Thayer. 2011. Timescales of human adaptation: the role of epigenetic processes. Epigenomics.
Wells and Stock. 2011. Re-examining heritability:  genetics, life history and plasticity. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Food, Eating, and Human Biology
Wiley, Allen, and Brewis. 2012. Human biology eats: Contemporary research and future directions. American Journal of Human Biology, in press Allen. 2012. ‘‘Theory of Food’’ as a neurocognitive adaptation. American Journal of Human Biology, in press
Wiley. 2012. Cow milk consumption, insulin-like growth factor-I, and human biology: A life history approach. American Journal of Human Biology, in press

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Stress and the HPA Axis: An Evolutionary and Ecological Perspective
Flinn et al. 2011. Evolutionary functions of early social modulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis development in humans. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
Nyberg. 2011. Diurnal cortisol rhythms in Tsimane’ Amazonian foragers: New insights into ecological HPA axis research. Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Evolution of Middle Childhood
Campbell. 2011. An introduction to the special issue on middle childhood. Human Nature 22: 247-248.
Thompson and Nelson. 2011. Middle childhood and modern human origins. Human Nature 22: 249-280.
Lancy and Grove. 2011. Getting noticed: Middle childhood in cross-cultural perspective. Human Nature 22: 281-302.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Nutrition transition in the Amazon
Piperata et al. 2011. The nutrition transition in Amazonia: Rapid economic change and its impact on growth and development in Ribeirinhos. Am J Phys Anthropol.
Nardoto et al. 2011. Frozen chicken for wild fish: Nutritional transition in the Brazilian Amazon region determined by carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in fingernails. Am J Hum Biol.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Genetic evidence for pathogens as the main selective pressure in human evolution

Fumagalli et al. 2011. Signatures of Environmental Genetic Adaptation Pinpoint Pathogens as the Main Selective Pressure through Human Evolution. PLoS Genetics.
Willyard. 2011. Nature News: Parasites Drove Human Genetic Variation. Nature.
Hancock et al. 2011. Adaptations to Climate-Mediated Selective Pressures in Humans. PLoS Genetics.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Evolution by natural selection in contemporary human populations
Milot et al. 2011. Evidence for evolution in response to natural selection in a contemporary human population. PNAS.
Byars et al. 2010. Natural selection in a contemporary human population. PNAS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
An evolutionary perspective on human microbiota

Blaser. 2011. Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria. Nature.
Dominguez-Bello et al. 2010. Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns. PNAS.
Arumugam et al. 2011. Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Nature.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
An Evolutionary Perspective on Happiness
Weiss et al. 2011. Happy orang-utans live longer lives. Biology Letters.
Buss. 2000. The evolution of happiness. American Psychologist.
Oswald & Wu. 2010. Objective confirmation of subjective measures of human well-being: Evidence from the USA. Science.

Friday, November 12, 2010
Evolutionary Constraint and Ecological Consequences
Futuyma D. 2010. Evolutionary Constraint and Ecological Consequences. Evolution.

October 29, 2010
Helminths, Human Evolution, and Global Health
Hurtado et al. 2008. The role of helminthes in human evolution: Implications for global health in the 21st century.
In: Elton & O’Higgins (Eds.) Medicine and Evolution: Current Applications, Future Prospects. Taylor & Francis.

October 15, 2010
Inflammation, Infection, and Cardiovascular Disease
Vasunilashorn et al. 2010. Blood lipids, infection, and inflammatory markers in the Tsimane of Bolivia. Am J Hum Biol.
Gurven et al. 2009. Inflammation and infection do not promote arterial aging and cardiovascular disease risk factors among lean horticulturalists. PLoS ONE.

February 19, 2010
Detecting Selection in the Human Genome

MacCallum & Hill. 2006. Being positive about selection. PLoS Biology.
Pickrell et al. 2009. Signals of recent positive selection in a worldwide sample of human populations. Genome.
Perry et al. 2007. Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation. Nature Genetics.

February 5, 2010
Reproductive Cancers
Strassmann. 1999. Menstrual cycling and breast cancer: An evolutionary perspective. J Women’s Health.
Greaves. 2000. Men’s problems. From Cancer: The Evolutionary Legacy (Ch. 16).
Pollard. 2008. Reproductive cancers. From Western Diseases (Ch. 5).

January 22, 2010
Thrifty Genes and Obesity

Wells. 2009. Thrift: A guide to thrifty genes, thrifty phenotypes and thrifty norms. Int J Obesity.
Wells. 2009. Ethnic variability in adiposity and cardiovascular risk: The variable disease selection hypothesis.
Int J Epidemiology.
Speakman. 2008. Thrifty genes for obesity, an attractive but flawed idea, and an alternate perspective: The
‘drifty gene’ hypothesis. Int J Obesity.
An additional article related to our discussion:
Pollard. 2008. The thrifty genotype versus thrifty phenotype debate: Efforts to explain between population
variation in rates of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. From Western Diseases (Ch.4).

May 29, 2009
High Altitude Adaptation (with special guest Dr. Abby Bigham from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington)
Beall. 2007. Detecting natural selection in high-altitude human populations.
Resp Phys & Neuro 158: 161-171.
Julian et al. 2009. Evolutionary adaptation to high altitude: A view from in utero. Am J Hum Biol.

May 15, 2009
Social Networks and Health
Smith and Christakis. 2008. Social networks and health. Annu Rev Sociol 34: 405-429.
Uchino. 2006. Social support and health: A review of physiological processes underlying links to disease
outcomes. J Behav Med 29: 377.
Couzin. 2009. Friendship as a health factor. Science 323: 454.
Some additional readings related to our discussion. These all come from John Cacioppo’s
recent book Loneliness (published in 2008):
Cacioppo and Patrick. Lonely in a social world (Ch. 1).
Cacioppo and Patrick. The wear and tear of loneliness (Ch. 6).
Cacioppo and Patrick. The power of social connection (Ch. 14).
There’s also a website for the book (

May 1, 2009
Stress and Health in Humans and Non-Human Primates
Sapolsky. 2005. The influence of social hierarchy on primate health. Science 308: 648.
McEwen. 2008. Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and
damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. Eur J Pharmacology 583: 174.
Michaud et al. 2008. Impact of stressors in a natural context on release of cortisol in healthy adult humans.
Stress 11: 177.

April 17, 2009
Psychosocial Stress during Prenatal Life and Childhood
Flinn. 2008. Why words can hurt us: Social relationships, stress, and health. In: Trevathan et al (eds.) Evolutionary
Medicine and Health: New Perspectives.
Field and Diego. 2008. Cortisol: The culprit prenatal stress variable. Int J Neuroscience 118: 1181.

March 6, 2009
Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Gluckman et al. 2007. Early life events and their consequences for later disease. Am J Hum Biol 19: 1.
Some additional articles related to our discussion:
Gluckman et al. 2008. Effect of in utero and early-life conditions on adult health and disease. NEJM 359: 61.
Jasienska et al. 2006. Fatness at birth predicts adult susceptibility to ovarian suppression: An empirical test of the
Predictive Adaptive Response hypothesis. PNAS 103: 12759.
Keith et al. 2006. Putative contributors to the secular increase in obesity: Exploring the roads less traveled. Int J
Obesity 30: 1585.
Brumbach et al. 2009. Effects of harsh and unpredictable environments in adolescence on development of life
history strategies: A longitudinal test of an evolutionary model. Hum Nat 20: 25.
Altmann and Alberts. 2005. Growth rates in a wild primate population: Ecological influences and maternal effects.
Behav Ecol Sociobiol 31: 241.

February 20, 2009
Crow. 1997. Is schizophrenia the price that Homo sapiens pays for language? Schizophrenia Research 28:
Brune. 2004. Schizophrenia–An evolutionary enigma? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 28:
Some additional articles related to our discussion:
Sapolsky. 1997. Circling the blanket for God. In: The Trouble with Testosterone.
Malaspina et al. 2008. Acute maternal stress in pregnancy and schizophrenia in offspring. BMC Psychiatry 8: 71.
Crespi et al. 2007. Adaptive evolution of genes underlying schizophrenia. Proc R Soc B 274: 2801.
Badcock and Crespi. 2006. Imbalanced genomic imprinting in brain development: An evolutionary basis for the
aetiology of autism. J Evol Biol 19: 1007.
Crespi and Badcock. 2008. Psychosis and autism as diametrical disorders of the social brain. Behav Brain Sci
31: 241.

February 6, 2009:

Hertz-Picciotto and Delwiche. 2009. The rise in autism and the role of age at diagnosis. Epidemiology 20:
Ashwin et al. 2009. Eagle-eyed visual acuity: An experimental investigation of enhanced perception in autism.
Biol Psychiatry 65: 17-21.
Baron-Cohen. 2006. Two new theories of autism: Hyper-systemising and assortive mating. Arch Dis Childhood
91: 2-5.

January 23, 2009
Skeletal Health and Osteoporosis
Agarwal and Stuart-Macadam. 2003. An evolutionary and biocultural approach to understanding the effects of
reproductive factors on the female skeleton. In: Agarwal and Stout (eds.) Bone Loss and Osteoporosis: An
Anthropological Perspective.
Stini. 1995. Osteoporosis in biocultural perspective. Annu Rev Anthropol 24: 397-421.

May 30, 2008
The Evolution of Childbirth
Trevathan. 1999. Evolutionary obstetrics. In: Trevathan et al. (eds.) Evolutionary Medicine.
Oxford U Press, p. 183-207.
Trevathan and Rosenberg. 2000. The shoulders follow the head: Postcranial constraints on human
childbirth. J Hum Evol 39: 583-586.
Walrath. 2003. Rethinking pelvic typologies and the human birth mechanism. Curr Anthropol
44: 5-31.

May 16, 2008
Rambaut et al. 2004. The causes and consequences of HIV evolution.
Woolhouse and Gaunt. 2007. Ecological origins of novel human pathogens.
Galvani and Novembre. 2005. The evolutionary history of the CCR5-D32 HIV-resistance mutation.

May 2, 2008:
Lende. 2008. Evolution and modern behavioral problems: The case of addiction.
Gerald and Higley. 2002. Evolutionary underpinnings of excessive alcohol consumption.

April 4, 2008
Worthman. 2008. After dark: The evolutionary ecology of human sleep.
Siegel. 2005. Clues to the function of mammalian sleep.

March 7, 2008
Hurtado et al. 1999. The evolutionary ecology of childhood asthma.

February 22, 2008
Introduction to Evolutionary Medicine
Williams and Nesse. 1991. The dawn of Darwinian medicine.
Trevathan. 2008. Introduction and overview of evolutionary medicine.
Stearns et al. 2008. Introducing evolutionary thinking for medicine.