ISEMPH Meeting Abstract Deadline February 15

ISEMPH Meeting Abstract Deadline February 15

The landmark 2017 ISEMPH 3rd annual meeting will be in Groningen, The Netherlands, on August 18-21, 2017, in conjunction with the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB).

February 15 is the deadline for submitting abstracts and the opening date for early bird discounted registration, so click here for full meeting information and click this link to submit your abstract today.

Keynote speakers include Mervyn Singer (UK), Sylvia Cremer (Austria), Francisco Úbeda (UK), Peer Bork (Germany) and Jonathan Wells (UK), and for the overlapping part of the two meetings, Svante Pääbo (Germany), Linda Partridge (UK) and Stephen Stearns (USA). In addition to these stellar talks, paper sessions and poster sessions, the program committee, led by Frank Rühli and Nicole Bender, is planning diverse activities including workshops, round tables and social events to foster networking with international colleagues. They welcome comments and suggestions sent to

ISEMPH members get a considerable discount on registration fees, and a further 20% discount is offered to those who register for both ISEMPH and the ESEB meeting. For full details see the Society’s website.



Fifty years of illumination about the natural levels of adaptation By Koos Boomsma

Fifty years of illumination about the natural levels of adaptation By Koos Boomsma

The 1966 publication of Adaptation and Natural Selection by George Williams was a milestone for biology in general, and a seminal event for evolution and medicine. As Boomsma argues in this article from Current Biology celebrating the 50th anniversary of its publication, ” Adaptation by natural design: Williams’ paradigmatic synthesis is as valid as ever.”  It is a superb summary of why group selection approaches are mostly irrelevant, making clear that “A major theme throughout Williams’ book is that group selection can, under very restricted conditions, produce changes in gene frequency in specific directions, but that it can never yield lasting group adaptations that cannot be better explained as individual adaptations of group members.”






Live-streamed Evolutionary Medicine & Complex Adaptive Systems  Symposium Feb 2, 3

Live-streamed Evolutionary Medicine & Complex Adaptive Systems Symposium Feb 2, 3

Sponsored by the Arizona State University Center for Evolution and Medicine In collaboration with the ASU Biosocial Complexity Initiative Live streaming link at the CEM Website on the symposium day This free symposium brings together experts from evolutionary biology, medicine, physiology, genetics, engineering, and complex systems to develop strategies for testing hypotheses about why natural selection has left physiological control systems vulnerable to failures that cause diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, obesity, and emotional disorders.
Learn more and register (registration required only for on site attendees)

Thursday February 2, at noon (AZ time zone)

Keynote: The State of Detection Theory Pete Trimmer, NSF-Funded Postdoctoral Researcher University of California, Davis Winner of the 2016 George C. Williams Prize for the best paper in Evolution, Medicine & Public Health

Friday, February  3 Symposium 8:30-12:00 (Phoenix, AZ time zone)

8:30am Randolph M. Nesse (ASU Life Sciences) Fitness cliffs and vicious cycles: Evolutionary explanations for vulnerable control systems 8:50am Fred Nijhout (Duke University) Homeostatic mechanisms enable the persistence and accumulation of deleterious genes 9:10am Carl Carlson (Carlson Reliability Consulting) Using Failure Mode and Effects Analysis to advance evolutionary biology research and application 9:30am Jay Schulkin (University of Washington Medical School) Obesity: Biology and Culture 9:50am Athena Aktipis (ASU Psychology) The good, the bad and the arms race: How cooperation, competition and escalating conflict shape human health and disease 10:30am Ken Buetow (ASU Life Sciences) Complex human disease phenotypes as emergent properties of network variability 10:50am Manfred Laubichler (ASU Life Sciences) Stability vs. Vulnerability: The evolutionary conundrum 11:10am Rustom Antia (Emory University) ”Design principles” for robust immune systems 11:30am Carl Bergstrom (University of Washington) A hygiene hypothesis for anxiety

The Arc of Life: Evolution and Health Across the Life Course: Book Review

The Arc of Life: Evolution and Health Across the Life Course: Book Review

The Arc of Life: Evolution and Health Across the Life Course
Eds. Grazyna Jazienska, Diana S. Sherry, & Donna J. Holmes
Springer, 2017.

Review by Daniel Hruschka, MPH, PhD
School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

For half a century, biological anthropologists have studied how human health and disease can arise from evolutionary adaptations interacting with diverse, present-day environments. Casting a broad comparative net, anthropologists have asked how our bodies respond to nutritional deprivation and excess, to the stress of high-altitude living, to the costs of reproduction, and to diverse infectious disease ecologies. They have used comparative data to challenge cultural norms about the healthiest ways to raise kids and questioned biomedical assumptions about the most appropriate tools for assessing healthy development. They have examined how past adaptations can put us at risk for nutrient deficiencies and life-threatening genetic disorders.

“The Arc of Life” introduces readers to a range of recent research in biological anthropology tackling these same kinds of issues and questions. A life history framework unites many of the chapters in this volume, bringing into focus the compromises that must be made when allocating valuable resources to survival, growth, and reproduction. Within this framework, the volume brings together a diverse set of perspectives—including developmental biology, reproductive ecology, physiology, demography, immunology, and the biology of aging—focusing on all parts of the lifespan from the fetus to old age. The chapters ask many interesting questions. How do fetuses learn about the risks and affordances of the outside world in preparation for a life away from the womb? What is “normal” sociosexual development and what are its functions? Is teen motherhood always a risky endeavor? What are the health costs of maintaining high levels of androgens through the life span? How can mechanisms that protect the mother and fetus during pregnancy lead to later life health problems? How does living in an environment of steady abundance modify the costs and health risks of reproduction? And what parallels are there between physiological responses to high-altitude hypoxia and metabolic responses to the extreme high-glucose environments of modern day? A key strength of many of the chapters is careful attention to the hormonal and physiological mechanisms that play a role in allocating scarce resources to all the bodily processes and behaviors needed for survival, growth and reproduction.

The scientific theories and findings presented in the chapters are stimulating in their own right, but the book also aims at relevance to public health and medicine. There are moments when the book achieves this second aspiration, for example, by raising concerns about the public health consequences of unfettered and untested testosterone supplementation in later life. More detailed descriptions of how evolutionary insights and predictions could be translated to improve practice in medicine and public health would help more fully achieve the book’s second aspiration.

In summary, the book is a good introduction to a diverse set of active research threads in biological anthropology on evolution, health and disease. I expect it will be of interest to a graduate students and researchers in the fields of evolutionary medicine as well as health professionals with an interest in health and disease as an interaction between our evolutionary past and our present environments.


Submit your abstract now for the August 2017  ISEMPH meeting in Groningen

Submit your abstract now for the August 2017 ISEMPH meeting in Groningen

Join us in Groningen for the 2017 ISEMPH Meeting!

The Third Annual Meeting of the International Society of Evolution, Medicine & Public Health will take place August 18-21, 2017 in Groningen, Netherlands in conjunction with the XVIth European Society for Evolutionary Biology Meeting. ISEMPH brings together scientists, teachers, clinicians, and students in the evolution and medicine community to share ideas and create new connections that will advance the field. This open meeting is designed to bridge the many different disciplines where relevant research takes place, including infectious disease, public health, genetics, anthropology, psychology, oncology, ecology, and veterinary medicine.

Keynote speakers include Svante Pääbo, Linda Partridge, Stephen Stearns, Marian Joels, Mervyn Singer, Sylvia Cremer, Francisco Ubeda, and Peer Bork. Details at the ISEMPH Website.

Submit your abstract now…and certainly before the February 15 deadline.

The first two days of the ISEMPH Annual Meeting will be at the University of Groningen Medical Center, the Monday sessions will be at the Groningen Conference Center in conjunction with the European Society for Evolutionary Biology Annual Meeting August 21-25 (separate registration and abstract submission is required). Registration for both meetings will open in February. We anticipate discounted registration fees for those who attend both meetings. If you have an idea for a special symposium, round table or other creative experience, please send a note to She and Program Committee Chair Frank Rühli are working with 12 other committee members to create a program unmatched in the history of our field.