Frank Rühli named Dean at U. Zurich Medical School

Frank Rühli named Dean at U. Zurich Medical School

Frank Rühli, Prof. Dr. Dr. med., EMBA, has just been named Dean of the University of Zurich Medical School. He is the Founding Director of the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, at the University of Zurich where he is a Full Professor of Evolutionary Medicine and Head of the Paleopathology and Mummy Studies Group. He will begin as President of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health in July, 2021.

Many who have worked to bring an evolutionary foundation to medical research and education have thought the project would have to wait until current students became Deans. But now that one leading medical school has seen the opportunity, others will certainly follow.

Omenn Prize Awarded

Omenn Prize Awarded

The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health has awarded the $5000 Omenn prize for the best article on a topic related to evolution, medicine, and public health published in the past year to Chelsea J. Weibel (photo above), Jenny Tung, Susan C. Alberts, and Elizabeth A. Archie for “Accelerated reproduction is not an adaptive response to early-life adversity in wild baboons” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Oct 2020, 117 (40) 24909-24919. 

The Committee also recognized three additional papers for honorable mention.

  • Morley, V. J., Kinnear, C. L., Sim, D. G., Olson, S. N., Jackson, L. M., Hansen, E., Usher, G. A., Showalter, S. A., Pai, M. P., Woods, R. J., & Read, A. F. (2020) An adjunctive therapy administered with an antibiotic prevents enrichment of antibiotic-resistant clones of a colonizing opportunistic pathogen. eLife, 9, e58147.
  • Crespi, B. (2020). Evolutionary medical insights into the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2020(1), 314-322.
  • Dieltjens, L., Appermans, K., Lissens, M., Lories, B., Kim, W., Van der Eycken, E. V., Foster, K. R., & Steenackers, H. P. (2020). Inhibiting bacterial cooperation is an evolutionarily robust anti-biofilm strategy. Nature Communications, 11(1), 107.

ISEMPH thanks this year’s prize committee Caleb Finch (chair), Martin Brüne, Joe Graves, Jochim Kurtz, Chris Kuzawa, Anne Stone, and Carol Worthman and sponsor Gilbert Omenn for making this prize possible.

Omenn Prize: $5000 for best EvMed article

The $5000 Gilbert S. Omenn Prize is awarded by the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health for the best article published in the previous calendar year on a topic related to evolution in the context of medicine and public health.  Nominations for articles published in 2020, including self-nominations, are welcome until April 30, 2021. Caleb Finch chairs the prize jury.

Full information here:

Link for submission here:

The International Society for Evolution, Medicine & Public Health invites
nominations for the Omenn Prize of $5000 for the best article published in
the previous calendar year in any scientific journal on a topic related to
evolution in the context of medicine and public health.

The prize, provided by the generosity of Gilbert S. Omenn, will be awarded
to the first author of the winning article. The Committee, chaired this
year by Caleb Finch, may elect to recognize more than one article. Authors
are encouraged to nominate their own articles, but nominations of articles
by others are also welcome.Directions for NominationsPlease submit your
nomination using this brief form. The form requests a reference for the
nominated article, along with a brief statement in support of your

Peer-reviewed articles with a publication date of 2020 that use
evolutionary principles to advance understanding of a disease or disease
process are eligible.  The prize committee will give priority to articles
with implications for human health, but many basic science or theoretical
articles have such implications.

The prize is made possible by a generous donation by Gilbert Omenn, M.D.,
PhD. Director of the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics
at the University of Michigan where he is a Professor of Internal Medicine,
Human Genetics, and Public Health. Dr. Omenn served as Executive Vice
President for Medical Affairs as Chief Executive Officer of the University
of Michigan Health System from 1997-2002. He is a past president of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the
Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Club EvMed: Four in April! Sign up now.

Club EvMed: Four in April! Sign up now.

And don’t miss the last one in March: Harnessing the social lives of microbes to improve human health, Thursday, March 25th at 12pm EDT/17:00 CET

See the website at for full details

The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous

Thursday, April 1st at 12pm EDT/18:00 CEST

cover of Joseph Henrich's book, The Weirdest People in the World

Join us for a conversation with Joe Henrich, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Over the last few decades, a growing body of research has revealed not only substantial global variation along several important psychological dimensions, but also that people from societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) are particularly unusual, often anchoring the ends of global psychological distributions. To explain these patterns, I’ll first show how the most fundamental human institutions—those governing marriage and the family—influence our motivations, perceptions, intuitions and emotions. Then, to explain the peculiar trajectory of European societies over the last two millennium, I lay out how one particular branch of Christianity systematically dismantled the intensive kin-based institutions in much of Latin Christendom, thereby altering people’s psychology and opening the door to the proliferation of new institutional forms, including voluntary associations (charter towns, universities and guilds), impersonal markets, individualistic religions and representative governments. In light of these findings, I close by arguing that the anthropological, psychological and economic sciences should transform into a unified evolutionary approach that considers not only how human nature influences our behavior and societies but also how the resulting institutions, technologies and languages subsequently shape our minds.

After the talk, perspectives on how the research applies in a clinical setting will be presented by physician Neal Baer, Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard. Attendees are encouraged to read Schulz et al. 2019, “The Church, intensive kinship, and global psychological variation.” Sign up here for the meeting link.

Causes and consequences of fear of childbirth

Monday, April 5th at 12pm EDT/18:00 CEST

Zaneta Thayer headshot

Join us for a conversation with Zaneta Thayer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth College. Childbirth is an essential component of reproduction. And yet, many individuals experience fear of childbirth (FOC), defined as anxiety about birth that impairs an individual’s daily functioning and wellbeing. Mild to moderate FOC has been previously described as a potential adaptation for humans to seek assistance during labor and delivery. However, FOC exists on a spectrum, and individuals with high FOC are known to be more likely to request cesarean and other forms of medical intervention in order to avoid pain and maintain a sense of control. In this talk, I will expand on what is known about the causes of FOC, as well as presently underappreciated impacts of FOC on maternal and child health across the perinatal period. Using data collected from pregnant persons living in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, I will discuss how pandemic-related restrictions on birth environments have amplified FOC and associations between FOC and gestation length, postpartum depression, and breastfeeding outcomes. This work suggests that promoting prenatal care and birth environments that facilitate patient-provider trust, continuous labor support, and maternal self-efficacy could reduce FOC. Sign up here for the meeting link.

Die young, live fast: is accelerated reproduction an adaptive response to early life adversity in wild baboons?

Wednesday, April 21st at 12pm EDT/18:00 CEST

a picture of a baboon with its young

Join us for a conversation with Elizabeth Archie, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and Chelsea Weibel, PhD Student at the University of Notre Dame. If an individual can anticipate an early death, should they also “live fast”? Fast reproduction is often proposed to be an adaptive response to harsh conditions in early life because early adversity predicts shorter lifespans. Individuals who speed up reproduction after experiencing early adversity might therefore have higher fitness than those who do not. Using long-term data on natural population of baboons in Amboseli, Kenya, we tested if fast reproduction offers lifetime fitness advantages to females. Contrary to several influential hypotheses, females who experienced early adversity did not improve their fitness if they sped up reproduction. Our results raise doubts that accelerated reproduction is an adaptive response to early adversity in long lived, slow-reproducing species. Sign up here for the meeting link.

Postdoc Spotlight

Thursday, April 29th at 12pm EDT/18:00 CEST

We are accepting nominations through Wednesday, March 31st. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else to present a 12-minute talk at Club EvMed, please fill out this form.

Omenn Prize Nominations Open

Omenn Prize Nominations Open

Nominations are now open for the Omenn Prize; Deadline April 30

The $5000 Gilbert S. Omenn Prize is awarded each year by The International Society for Evolution, Medicine & Public Health for the the best article published in the previous calendar year in any scientific journal on a topic related to evolution in the context of medicine and public health. Please submit your nomination, self-nominations are welcome. 

The prize, provided by the generosity of Gilbert S. Omenn, will be awarded to the first author of the winning article. The Committee may elect to recognize more than one article. This year’s prize committee includes Caleb Finch (chair), Martin Brüne, Joe Graves, Jochim Kurtz, Chris Kuzawa, Anne Stone, and Carol Worthman. 

Full information is here.   Submit nominations here. 

The winner will present at ISEMPH2021.

New PhD Program at Baylor

New PhD Program at Baylor

The Department of Anthropology at Baylor University is accepting student applications for a new PhD program in the Anthropology of Health (broadly conceived, including biomedical anthropology, evolutionary medicine, global health, medical anthropology, and other applied disciplines to understand past, present, and future populations). The program emphasizes training in quantitative and qualitative methods, values diversity and inclusion, and aims to prepare graduates for jobs in academia, research, business or industry, government, and other vocations.

Unique aspects of the program include:

  • An emphasis on mixed methods in both field and laboratory settings
  • Rigorous training in statistical methods
  • Required electives in communication and management
  • Targeted pedagogical and professional skills training
  • Required internship with a local community organization
  • An emphasis on professional publishing prior to graduation
  • A small program with multiple advisors for each student

Benefits include five years of guaranteed funding for each student, guaranteed funding for professional travel and research, newly renovated facilities with a world-class core laboratory, diverse research groups focusing on a variety of health-related topics with multiple field sites, and a supportive institution known for research in global and community health.

Please visit:

For questions, please email: