Club EvMed January: Cancer and Aging

Sign up now for two great Club EvMed discussions in January

Club EvMed: Integrating evolutionary dynamics into clinical cancer treatment

Monday, January 11th at 12pm EST

Join us for a conversation with Robert Gatenby, Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Evolutionary Therapy and Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at the Moffitt Cancer Center. In the talk, Dr. Gatenby will outline basic evolutionary principles and mathematical models used to design clinical therapies with the goal of both control and cure of metastatic cancers. He will summarize the results of the first evolution-based clinical trial in metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Attendees are encouraged to read Zhang et al. 2017 “Integrating evolutionary dynamics into treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer,” Stanková et al. 2019 “Optimizing cancer treatment using game theory,” Gatenby and Brown 2020 “Integrating evolutionary dynamics into cancer therapy,” and Gatenby et al. 2019 “First strike-second strike strategies in metastatic cancer: lessons from the evolutionary dynamics of extinction.”

After the talk, perspectives on how the research applies in a clinical setting will be presented by Shelley Hwang, Mary and Deryl Hart Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Chief of Breast Surgery at Duke. Sign up here for the meeting link:–rrjMpG9Nn2VYkmDZAUQgyQmz339QG.

Club EvMed: Successful Aging in the Forest: How wild chimpanzees can help us understand the evolution of human aging

Thursday, January 28th at 12pm EST

Join us for a conversation with Melissa Emery Thompson, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Recent research has revealed that despite shorter life expectancies, humans in small-scale subsistence populations exhibit surprisingly good health, suggesting that some debilitating diseases of aging may be novel products of industrialized environments. This research highlights an urgency to look deeper in our evolutionary past to understand how we age today. I will discuss emerging findings from the first longitudinal study to examine aging in our closest evolutionary relatives, chimpanzees, in their natural environment. Attendees may be interested in reading articles in a recent theme issue on primate agingSign up here for the meeting link:

Maladaptation: Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications

Maladaptation: Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications

Evolutionary Medicine focuses on maladaptation. A special Issue of Evolutionary Applications offers a series of useful papers on the latest thinking. The overview article is likely to be of special interest.

Causes of maladaptation

Steven P. BradyDaniel I. BolnickAmy L. AngertAndrew GonzalezRowan D.H. BarrettErika CrispoAlison M. DerryChristopher G. EckertDylan J. FraserGregor F. Fussmann… See all authors First published: 23 July 2019

Evolutionary biologists tend to approach the study of the natural world within a framework of adaptation, inspired perhaps by the power of natural selection to produce fitness advantages that drive population persistence and biological diversity. In contrast, evolution has rarely been studied through the lens of adaptation’s complement, maladaptation. This contrast is surprising because maladaptation is a prevalent feature of evolution: population trait values are rarely distributed optimally; local populations often have lower fitness than imported ones; populations decline; and local and global extinctions are common. Yet we lack a general framework for understanding maladaptation; for instance in terms of distribution, severity, and dynamics. Similar uncertainties apply to the causes of maladaptation. We suggest that incorporating maladaptation‐based perspectives into evolutionary biology would facilitate better understanding of the natural world. Approaches within a maladaptation framework might be especially profitable in applied evolution contexts – where reductions in fitness are common. Toward advancing a more balanced study of evolution, here we present a conceptual framework describing causes of maladaptation. As the introductory article for a Special Feature on maladaptation, we also summarize the studies in this Issue, highlighting the causes of maladaptation in each study. We hope that our framework and the papers in this Special Issue will help catalyze the study of maladaptation in applied evolution, supporting greater understanding of evolutionary dynamics in our rapidly changing world.

Call for Papers: Evolutionary Medicine & Palaeopathology

Call for Papers: Evolutionary Medicine & Palaeopathology

Evolution Medicine and Public Health will publish a special issue on Paleopathology in 2021. Submissions are invited. See below and this link for details

Bioarchaeology and its sub-discipline palaeopathology provide direct insight into the appearance, prevalence,  manifestations, and impact of particular health problems through thousands of years of human history and  prehistory. As such, these disciplines help to explain how and why certain diseases have emerged and evolved in humans. Additionally, the information gained from these archaeological contexts has the potential to identify possible aetiological factors that can be difficult to see in smaller, more locally confined clinical studies.

Currently, palaeopathology is under-represented in evolutionary medicine. With this in mind, we are launching a Virtual Issue of Evolution, Medicine and Public Health (EMPH) that will address questions in evolutionary medicine from the unique perspective of paleopathological research. 

For this Virtual Issue, we welcome and encourage the submission of data-driven research papers from scholars who use bioarchaeology and evolutionary theory to answer questions about medical issues affecting humans. If you or your lab are conducting such research, please consider submitting a paper to EMPH for consideration.  

Paper submissions will be accepted for consideration for this virutal issue from now until the target date of August 31, 2021.

Please contact the organizers for more information: Kimberly Plomp at,  Gillian Bentley at, or Frank Rühli at

A new strategy for preventing antibiotic resistance

A new strategy for preventing antibiotic resistance

Novel strategy from the Read group: Use an IV antibiotic but give an agent that binds it in the gut.

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 [Preprint]. Evolutionary Biology.

Abstract: A key challenge in antibiotic stewardship is figuring out how to use antibiotics therapeutically without promoting the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Here, we demonstrate proof of concept for an adjunctive therapy that allows intravenous antibiotic treatment without driving the evolution and onward transmission of resistance. We repurposed the FDA-approved bile acid sequestrant cholestyramine, which we show binds the antibiotic daptomycin, as an ‘anti-antibiotic’ to disable systemically-administered daptomycin reaching the gut. We hypothesized that adjunctive cholestyramine could enable therapeutic daptomycin treatment in the bloodstream, while preventing transmissible resistance emergence in opportunistic pathogens colonizing the gastrointestinal tract. We tested this idea in a mouse model of Enterococcus faecium gastrointestinal tract colonization. In mice treated with daptomycin, adjunctive cholestyramine therapy reduced the fecal shedding of daptomycin-resistant E. faecium by up to 80-fold. These results provide proof of concept for an approach that could reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance for important hospital pathogens.

Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health Research Articles in 2020

Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health Research Articles in 2020

Below is a list of ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLES published in EMPH so far this year. Covid delays have slowed publication of final pdf versions, but almost all of them are now available.

Fish consumption is associated with school performance in children in a non-linear way: Results from the German cohort study KiGGS 

A LehnerK StaubL AldakakP EppenbergerF Rühli …Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 2–11,

Spondylolysis and spinal adaptations for bipedalism: The overshoot hypothesis 

Kimberly A PlompKeith DobneyMark CollardEvolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 35–44,

An African origin for Mycobacterium bovis 

Chloé LoiseauFabrizio MenardoAbraham AseffaElena HailuBalako Gumi …Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 49–59,

Kin-based alloparenting and infant hospital admissions in the UK Millennium cohort 

David WaynforthEvolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 72–81,

Evidence for height and immune function trade-offs among preadolescents in a high pathogen population 

Angela R GarciaAaron D BlackwellBenjamin C TrumbleJonathan StieglitzHillard Kaplan …Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 86–99,

Immune function during pregnancy varies between ecologically distinct populations 

Carmen HovéBenjamin C TrumbleAmy S AndersonJonathan StieglitzHillard Kaplan …Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 114–128,

Knowledge and practices regarding antibiotics use: Findings from a cross-sectional survey among Italian adults 

Aida BiancoFrancesca LicataRossella ZuccoRosa PapadopoliMaria PaviaEvolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 129–138,

Lifetime cancer prevalence and life history traits in mammals 

Amy M BoddyLisa M AbegglenAllan P PessierAthena AktipisJoshua D Schiffman …Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 187–195,

Effect of drug dose and timing of treatment on the emergence of drug resistance in vivo in a malaria model 

Mónica M AcostaJoshua T BramDerek SimAndrew F ReadEvolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 196–210,

A test of oscillation in the human secondary sex ratio 

Ralph CatalanoJoan A CaseyTim A BrucknerEvolution, Medicine, and Public Health, Volume 2020, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 225–233,

EvMed Double-header Tuesday

EvMed Double-header Tuesday

Nov 17 at 11 am ET: ClubEvMed Social immunity: cooperative disease defense in social insect colonies with Sylvia Cremer

Nov 17 at noon ET: HBES Roundtable discussion on Life History Theory as Applied to Inter-Individual Variation. with Marco Del Giudice, Keelah Williams, Daniel Nettle, and Rebecca Sear, moderated by Willem Frankenhuis.

Both are free, but advance registration is required

ClubEvMed Tuesday, November 17th at 11am EST

Join us for a presentation by Sylvia Cremer, Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, followed by a conversation with Nathalie Stroeymeyt, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol, and Chris Pull, Lecturer at the University of Oxford. Infectious disease can easily spread when hosts live in social groups. On the other hand, the members of social groups can fight disease together. The social insects — the social bees and wasps, ants and termites — have evolved a special form of social group living: the colony. Dr. Cremer will present how ant colonies are protected against disease by the combination of the individual immune defenses of all colony members and their collective hygiene behaviors performed jointly or towards one another. This social immunity is achieved by cooperative actions to reduce pathogen load of the colony and to prevent transmission along the social interaction networks of colony members. Attendees are encouraged to read Cremer 2019, “Social immunity in insects,” Stroeymeyt et al. 2018, “Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect,” and Konrad et al. 2012 “Social transfer of pathogenic fungus promotes active immunization in ant colonies.” Sign up here for the meeting link.