2020 Williams Prize awarded to article by Rosenberg, et al.

2020 Williams Prize awarded to article by Rosenberg, et al.

The $5,000 George C Williams Prize for the most significant article published in 2019 in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health is awarded to the paper: Interpreting polygenic scores, polygenic adaptation, and human phenotypic differences by Noah Rosenberg, Michael Edge, Jonathan Pritchard and Marcus Feldman.

The paper focuses on potential misunderstandings of ongoing discoveries in human genomics. The Committee (David Houle, Neil Greenspan, Jenny Tung, Andrew Read (Chair)) agreed that the paper has important messages that will resonate across many fields of medicine and beyond. It is an outstanding example of how clarity of evolutionary thought is necessary to constructively advance discussions on sensitive and controversial topics involving humanity such as race and the causes of health disparities.

All articles published in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health in 2020 will be automatically considered for next year’s $5000 Williams Prize. The fully open access flagship journal of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, EMPH is published by Oxford University Press. It has an impact factor of 4.222 and is ranked 11th out of 50 journals in evolutionary biology. Author’s guidelines are here, or contact the Executive Editor Charles Nunn with your ideas for possible submissions.

Evolution and Medicine Program in Lyon, France

Evolution and Medicine Program in Lyon, France

Introducing evolutionary thinking in the health professions

This diploma is aimed at all professionals in human and animal health and life sciences, as well as students (validated 4th year) and, by extension, all enthusiasts of evolutionary sciences. Full information is here. See the detailed program here.

The discovery of the importance of microbiota, antibiotic resistance, new obstetric practices, the increase in the prevalence of psychiatric illnesses, the obesity epidemic, emerging viral diseases, new demographic and environmental pressures, and many others current topics, make it necessary to introduce evolutionary thinking in clinical practice.

Based on the observation that evolutionary sciences are not yet taught in the faculty of medicine, the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL1) and the laboratory of excellence (Labex) ECOFECT have decided to jointly ensure the high patronage of this diploma which is the first of its kind in Europe.

A word from the ECOFECT labex

“Evolutionary biology and medicine”: a unique DU in Europe  at the initiative of Ecofect
Discussions within the Ecofect LabEx and the bringing together of researchers from different disciplines naturally led to a reflection on the place of biology developments in medical training. This reflection led to the proposal for a University Diploma entitled “Biology of evolution and medicine” within the Faculty of Medicine of Lyon. This proposal was very well received by the evaluation commission of the faculty of medicine which underlined its innovative character .

This is the first time that a course in evolutionary biology has been integrated into the medical studies curriculum. It illustrates the pioneering work of LabEx Ecofect. The objective is to place the various medical disciplines in the larger framework of ecology and evolution. Integrating evolutionary reasoning into the initial and continuing training of physicians, researchers, practitioners and clinicians in human or animal health should lead to the opening up of new avenues of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

About thirty high-level French – speaking speakers participate in this teaching: researchers and practitioners, doctors, evolutionary biologists, philosophers, epistemologists, methodologists. This DU is under the responsibility of Gérard Lina (PU-PH at UCBL1 and CIRI), Luc Perino (Doctor, essayist) and Dominique Pontier (PU – UCBL1, CNRS – UMR 5558, co-director Ecofect), all three members of Ecofect .

Postdoc at MSU Evo-Med-Ed

Postdoc at MSU Evo-Med-Ed

Michigan State University has an opening for a postdoctoral research associate on the Evo-Med-Ed Project, an NSF-funded project that aims to design, pilot, and test a set of interactive and integrative instructional materials for biology focused on the evolutionary roots of selected human medical conditions. The Evo-Med-Ed Project is a direct offshoot of the Evo-Ed Project (www.evo-ed.org), but differs significantly in that here we explore how to engage students in evolutionary medicine curriculum, with explicit interdisciplinary connections to the relevant social and cultural contexts in which human medical conditions reside.
Starting salary for this postdoctoral research associate position is $50K, and the position is anticipated to begin on or near Oct. 10, 2020. The position is for one-year, with renewal for a second year possible based on shared interests.
To apply, submit an application letter, a curriculum vitae, two writing samples, and complete contact information for two letters of recommendation to careers.msu.edu (https://careers.msu.edu/en-us/job/503896/research-associatefixed-term). Questions regarding this position may be directed to Dr. Peter White, pwhite@msu.edu. Review of application materials will begin on August 31 and continue until the position is filled.

ClubEvMed Fall Schedule

ClubEvMed Fall Schedule

The schedule for ClubEvMed has just been announced. See the website for details and sign up for the mailing list to get a weekly update and invitation to register for each week’s meeting.

Club EvMed is a web series launched in April 2020 to keep the evolutionary medicine community connected during a time of pandemic-related social distancing. These regularly-held virtual meetings are styled around the idea of a journal club, with a different topic and discussion leader each time.

Club EvMed is organized by the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH) and five evolutionary medicine centers: the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM)the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Interdisciplinary Centerthe ASU Center for Evolution and Medicinethe Pittsburgh Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicineand the University of Zurich Institute of Evolutionary MedicineSpeakers are identified by a committee, which is led by Charles Nunn of TriCEM and features input from all of the organizers. Meredith Spence Beaulieu (TriCEM) manages the meetings.

All are welcome to attend Club EvMed! If you’re interested in evolutionary medicine, we also recommend engaging with ISEMPH by joining as a member or as a newsletter subscriber, which can be done here.

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The new tangled bank of disease: from protein space to injection networks and COVID-19 disparities

Thursday, August 20th at 12pm ET

Join us for a conversation with Brandon Ogbunu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. In this discussion, Dr. Ogbunu applies Darwin’s “tangled bank” analogy to several modern problems in public health and biomedicine. In doing so, he highlights the increasing eminence of nonlinearity in understanding disease systems, ranging in scope from the molecular determinants of drug resistance to ethnic disparities in COVID-19 prevalence in the United States. Sign up here for the meeting link.

Racial differences in host immune response to Helicobacter pylori virulence factors – does this help to explain the gastric cancer racial disparity in the United States?

Thursday, August 27th at 11am ET

Join us for a conversation with Meira Epplein, Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences at Duke University, and Julia Butt, Senior Research Associate in the Infections and Cancer Epidemiology research group at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is the leading cause of gastric cancer, but only 1-3% of individuals with chronic infection will develop cancer. Individuals with antibodies to H. pylori virulence factors CagA and VacA have been found to be at a 2- to 4-fold increase in risk of gastric cancer. Gastric cancer is significantly more common among African Americans than non-Hispanic white Americans, and whether this is due in part to the host immune response to H. pylori is unknown. Attendees are encouraged to read Butt et al. 2020, “Differences in antibody levels to H. pylori virulence factors VacA and CagA among African Americans and whites in the Southeast USA.” Sign up here for the meeting link.

Club EvMed conversation led by Amy Boddy (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Thursday, September 3rd at 12pm ET

This conversation will also feature counterpoints from David Haig (Harvard) and Gunter Wagner (Yale). Full details to be announced soon, but you can register in advance here.

The evolution of human birth timing: how selection has shaped the genetic landscape

Thursday, September 10th at 12pm ET

This conversation will be led by Lou Muglia (Burroughs Wellcome Fund), Antonis Rokas (Vanderbilt), and Tony Capra (Vanderbilt). Full details to be announced soon, but you can register in advance here.

Club EvMed conversation led by Dan Lieberman (Harvard)

Thursday, September 17th at 12pm ET

Full details to be announced soon, but you can register in advance here.

Club EvMed: Student Spotlight

Thursday, September 24th at 11am ET

For this special Club EvMed, we will hear 12-minute research talks from graduate students Lafi Aldakak (University of Zurich Institute for Evolutionary Medicine), Chenlu Di (University of Arizona), and Iman Hamid (Duke University). Full details to be announced soon, but you can register in advance here.

Club EvMed conversation led by Joseph Graves (NC A&T)

week of September 28th

Full details and registration link to be announced soon.

Assessing SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in 400 species with comparative genomics

Tuesday, October 6th at 12pm ET

Join us for a conversation with Elinor Karlsson, Associate Professor in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the director of the Vertebrate Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is a zoonotic pathogen that readily infects some non-human species, posing a risk to humans, if viral reservoirs are established in other species, and to other species, particularly those already endangered. Data on susceptibility and pathology in non-human species is sparse, with natural infection documented in fewer than a dozen species, but genomic datasets are far more substantial. We compiled genomic data for over 400 species and used the sequence of ACE2, the host receptor protein, to make a prediction of SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility. We also show that the viral binding domain of ACE2 is enriched for signals of natural selection in bats, the proposed source of the progenitor virus. By leveraging existing data resources, we completed this work in just four weeks in the midst of a global pandemic. While the risk predictions are preliminary, this work demonstrates how open genomic resources can be leveraged to address questions never envisioned in their original design. Sign up here for the meeting link.

How recent characterizations of somatic mutations in humans inform an evolutionary understanding of aging and cancer

Monday, October 19th at 1pm ET

This conversation will be led by James DeGregori (University of Colorado, Denver). Full details to be announced soon, but you can register in advance here.

Club EvMed conversation led by Tobias Lenz (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology)

Tuesday, October 27th at 1pm ET

Full details to be announced soon, but you can register in advance here.

Sign up for ClubEvMed Now!

Sign up for ClubEvMed Now!

ClubEvMed has a new website at http://ClubEvMed.org. Check out upcoming events, videos of past webinars, and sign up for notifications so you can register for future events.

Next event Monday, July 20th at 12pm ET
Hemoglobin and high-altitude hypoxia: evolution and public health
Join us for a conversation with Cynthia Beall

Club EvMed is a web series launched in April 2020 to keep the evolutionary medicine community connected during a time of pandemic-related social distancing. These regularly-held virtual meetings are styled around the idea of a journal club, with a different topic and discussion leader each time.

Club EvMed is organized by the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH) and five evolutionary medicine centers: the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM)the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Interdisciplinary Centerthe ASU Center for Evolution and Medicinethe Pittsburgh Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicineand the University of Zurich Institute of Evolutionary MedicineSpeakers are identified by a committee, which is led by Charles Nunn of TriCEM and features input from all of the organizers. Meredith Spence Beaulieu (TriCEM) manages the meetings.

All are welcome to attend Club EvMed! If you’re interested in evolutionary medicine, we also recommend engaging with ISEMPH by joining as a member or as a newsletter subscriber, which can be done here.