Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Anthropology
Phone: (310) 206-4589
Interests: biological anthropology; female reproductive life-history; evolutionary medicine; depression; dementia; longevity; endocrinology; fetal programming; metabolism; minority health disparities
Tools and Techniques: Clinical assessments of human physiology and psychology, and molecular laboratory analysis of human biosamples
Within the frameworks of evolutionary and developmental biology, my research focuses on maternal and grandmaternal transgenerational transmission of genes, phenotypes, life-history patterns, and disease risk. I synthesize information from molecular, clinical, epidemiological, and anthropological research towards understanding the evolutionary context of human health and disease, family and societal structure, and addressing global health challenges.
Current research projects investigate (1) the biological embedding of immigration and acculturation experiences in Mexican American women and how this process influences aspects of gestational physiology that are implicated in shaping fetal developmental trajectories, thereby affecting health across generations; (2) psychobiological profiles of postpartum depression risk, etiology, and manifestation; (3) how the human newborn intestinal ecology (microbiome) affects infant cognitive and emotional development, with implications for vulnerability to mental illness; (4) how gestational and lactational (pregnancy and breastfeeding) physiology impose long-term alterations to biophysiology in ways that affect later-life risk of Alzheimer’s and other geriatric disease.
Students with interest in these projects should email me regarding opportunities for involvement.