The Evolution and Medicine Review

…bridging the gap.

Are mice good models for understanding human disease? An evolutionary perspective

Perlman, Robert. (2016). “Mouse Models of Human Disease: An Evolutionary Perspective”. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, DOI: 10.1093/emph/eow014

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ISEMPH Meeting Program Posted–Registration fees increase May 1

The June 22-25th meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine & Public Health program is now available.

Registration fees increase on May 1st. 

To register for the meeting click here.
Visit the conference website
To print a version of this poster, click here.
ISEMPH Poster April 2016 single page program



Why human evolution should be a basic science for medicine and psychology students

A really elegant essay from Paola Palanza and Stefano Parmigiana from the Department of Neuroscience, Unit of Behavioral Biology, at the University of Parma in Italy. Great advocates for the teaching of evolution to medical students! Here is the abstract to this open access paper:

“Based on our teaching experience in medicine and psychology degree programs, we examine different aspects of human evolution that can help students to understand how the human body and mind work and why they are vulnerable to certain diseases. Three main issues are discussed: 1) the necessity to consider not only the mechanisms, i.e. the “proximate causations”, implicated in biological processes but also why these mechanisms have evolved, i.e. the “ultimate causations” or “adaptive significance”, to understand the functioning and malfunctioning of human body and mind; 2) examples of how human vulnerabilities to disease are caused by phylogenetic constraints, evolutionary tradeoffs reflecting the combined actions of natural and sexual selection, and/or mismatch between past and present environment (i.e., evolution of the eye, teeth and diets, erect posture and their consequences); 3) human pair-bonding and parent-offspring relationships as the result of socio-sexual selection and evolutionary compromises between cooperation and conflict. These psychobiological mechanisms are interwoven with our brain developmental plasticity and the effects of culture in shaping our behavior and mind, and allow a better understanding of functional (normal) and dysfunctional (pathological) behaviors. Thus, because the study of human evolution offers a powerful framework for clinical practice and research, the curriculum studiorum of medical and psychology students should include evolutionary biology and human phylogeny.”

Abstracts available for the 2015 Evolutionary Medicine Conference at the University of Zurich

Staub, Kaspar, et al. (2015). “Abstracts for the “Evolutionary Medicine Conference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Health and Disease” at the University of Zurich, Switzerland (July 30–August 1, 2015)”. Journal of Evolutionary Medicine, DOI: 10.4303/jem/235924

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Evolution & Medicine Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at ASU

Evolution & Medicine Postdoctoral Research Fellowship  at Arizona State University Salary: $60,000   Reference # 11557

The Center for Evolution & Medicine (CEM) at Arizona State University (ASU) invites applications from exceptional early career scientists for the Evolution & Medicine Research Fellowship. The Fellowship brings talented researchers with a recently awarded M.D. or Ph.D. to the ASU campus to develop and extend their own independent research agendas in conjunction with CEM faculty and their labs. Additionally, fellows will work with their mentors to develop skills in the areas of outreach, education and grant writing. Possible research areas include, but are not limited to, co-evolution and infectious diseases, regulation of inflammation and other defenses, autoimmune disorders, cancer, female reproductive health, lactation, and factors that influence disease susceptibility. The proposed research project is expected to potentially demonstrate the utility of evolutionary sciences for medicine or public health.

The Center for Evolution & Medicine is a university-wide Presidential Initiative directed by Randolph Nesse. Its mission is to improve human health by establishing evolutionary biology as an essential basic science for medicine, worldwide. It supports research that demonstrates the power of evolutionary biology to advance the understanding, prevention, and treatment of disease, as well as teaching and outreach initiatives. See for details and information on the Core Faculty.

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How can evolutionary concepts be incorporated into medical curricula?

Rühli, Frank, et al. (2016). “Novel Modules to Teach Evolutionary Medicine: an Australian and a Swiss Experience.” Medical Science Educator, DOI: 10.1007/s40670-016-0245-8

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Can Neanderthal genomics reveal the time frame for the first epidemiological transition?

American Journal of Physical Anthropology CoverHouldcroft, Charlotte Jane, and Simon Underdown. (2016). “Neanderthal Genomics Suggests a Pleistocene Time Frame for the First Epidemiologic Transition.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22985

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Assistant Professorship in Paleogenetics at the University of Zurich

The Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (Director: Prof. Dr. Frank Rühli) at the University of Zurich invites applications for an Assistant Professorship in Paleogenetics. We are looking for a young and dynamic personality at an early stage in his/her career, flexible and willing to contribute significantly to this dynamic research area. Click here to apply for this position and see below for additional details.

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Post-Doctoral and Research Associate Positions at Penn State: Evolutionary Risk Analyses in Human Health

The Read Group at Penn State is looking to hire up to four brave, ambitious, fun, and skilled post-docs and research associates interested in real time evolution in health-care settings. The evolution of drug resistance is one of the major challenges for 21st Century Medicine. One approach is to discover new drugs to replace those that are failing, but a much cheaper approach is to use the drugs we already have in ways which slow or prevent resistance emergence (stewardship). We are interested in hiring up to four people who are passionately interested in giving stewardship science a rigorous grounding in modern evolutionary theory. Projects include experimental work with drug resistance in malaria and with bacteria present in US hospitals, epidemiological and genomic analyses of hospital infections, statistical analyses of electronic health records, and the development and application of evolutionary models in health-care settings. There may also be options in cancer. Click here to apply for this position and see below for additional details.

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Does vegetarianism select for alleles that increase inflammation?

Does long term exposure to a vegetarian diet select for alleles that may increase inflammation?  New data suggests yes. For an accessible account see this article in The Telegraph. The full article is available open access here 

Kothapalli, Kumar SD, et al. “Positive selection on a regulatory insertion-deletion polymorphism in FADS2 influences apparent endogenous synthesis of arachidonic acid.” Molecular Biology and Evolution (2016): msw049.

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