Club EvMed April 8 at 2 pm EDT

Club EvMed April 8 at 2 pm EDT

ISEMPH members are encouraged to join a conversation Wednesday at 2 pm EDT with Kevin Olival, Vice President for Research at EcoHealth Alliance, and Hongying Li, China Programs Coordinator at EcoHealth Alliance.

They’ll be leading a discussion on two recent papers: Li et al. 2019 “Human-animal interactions and bat coronavirus spillover potential among rural residents in Southern China” ( and Daszak et al. 2020 “A strategy to prevent future epidemics similar to the 2019-nCoV outbreak” ( Attendees are encouraged to participate in discussing the importance of One Health perspectives in understanding and preventing viral epidemics.

Sign up here to get the meeting link: If you’d like to be notified about upcoming Club EvMed events, please sign up for the TriCEM email list and selecting “yes” for Club EvMed notifications:

If you missed last week’s Club EvMed on Teaching Evolution in the Time of COVID-19, you can access a recording at the Club EvMed archives here:

We hope you can join us on Wednesday.

New Book

New Book

Integrating Evolutionary Biology into Medical Education
for maternal and child healthcare students, clinicians, and scientists
, Edited by Jay Schulkin and Michael Power, Oxford University Press, 2020. Amazon link

Description from the publisher: Clinicians and scientists are increasingly recognising the importance of an evolutionary perspective in studying the aetiology, prevention, and treatment of human disease; the growing prominence of genetics in medicine is further adding to the interest in evolutionary medicine. In spite of this, too few medical students or residents study evolution.
This book builds a compelling case for integrating evolutionary biology into undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, as well as its intrinsic value to medicine. Chapter by chapter, the authors – experts in anthropology, biology, ecology, physiology, public health, and various disciplines of medicine – present the rationale for clinically-relevant evolutionary thinking. They achieve this within the broader context of medicine but through the focused lens of maternal and child health, with an emphasis on female reproduction and the early-life biochemical, immunological, and microbial responses influenced by evolution.
The tightly woven and accessible narrative illustrates how a medical education that considers evolved traits can deepen our understanding of the complexities of the human body, variability in health, susceptibility to disease, and ultimately help guide treatment, prevention, and public health policy. However, integrating evolutionary biology into medical education continues to face several roadblocks. The medical curriculum is already replete with complex subjects and a long period of training. The addition of an evolutionary perspective to this curriculum would certainly seem daunting, and many medical educators express concern over potential controversy if evolution is introduced into the curriculum of their schools. Medical education urgently needs strategies and teaching aids to lower the barriers to incorporating evolution into medical training.
In summary, this call to arms makes a strong case for incorporating evolutionary thinking early in medical training to help guide the types of critical questions physicians ask, or should be asking. It will be of relevance and use to evolutionary biologists, physicians, medical students, and biomedical research scientists.

Table of Contents

  • ForewordCharles J. Lockwood:
  • IntroductionMichael L. Power & Jay Schulkin:
  • Section I: Life History: Biological and Cultural Continuity
  • 1: Peter D. Gluckman, Felicia M. Low, & Mark A. Hanson: Evolutionary Medicine, Pregnancy, and the Mismatch Pathways to Increased Disease Disk
  • 2: Jonathan C. K. Wells: Evolutionary Public Health
  • 3: Wenda R. Trevathan & Karen R. Rosenberg: Evolutionary Medicine and Women’s Reproductive Health
  • 4: Alison M. Stuebe & Kristin P. Tully: Optimizing Maternal Infant Health Care: a focus on the 4th trimester
  • Section II: Biological Regulation
  • 5: Heide Aungst, Robert Rossi, Heather Brockway, Sam Mesiano, & Louis Muglia: Evolutionary Insights for Improving Pregnancy Outcomes: looking back to the future
  • 6: Robert Perlman: An Evolutionary View of Homeostasis: bioenergetics, life history theory and responses to pregnancy
  • 7: Michael L. Power, Caroline W. Quaglieri, Eda G. Reed, & Jay Schulkin: The Functions of MicroRNA in Female Reproduction
  • 8: Chloe Zera & Louise Wilkins-Haug: Evolutionary Medicine Viewed Through the Lens of Pregnancy and the Obesity Epidemic
  • Section III: Perspectives: Past, Present, and Future
  • 9: Fabio Zampieri: Darwin’s Impact on the Medical Sciences
  • 10: Barbara N. Horowitz: Tinbergean Approach to Clinical Medicine
  • 11: Carsten Schradin & Rainer Straub: The Role of the Immune System From an Evolutionary Perspective
  • 12: Louise Wilkins-Haug: Evolution, Genomics, and the New Genetic Technologies
  • 13: Shabnam Mousavi & Jay Schulkin: Ecological Rationality and Evolutionary Medicine: a bridge to medical education

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Six Plenary Speakers for ISEMPH 2020

Six Plenary Speakers for ISEMPH 2020

The ISEMPH Program Committee, chaired by Michael Muehlenbein, has just announced six great plenary speakers for the Sixth Annual Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health in Athens, Georgia, from July 15-18, 2020. This year’s venue is wonderful but it can accommodate only 300 registrants so register and submit your abstract now!

Vaughn Cooper, PhD, Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, will speak about “The Roles of Chance, History, and Natural Selection in the Evolution of Pathogenesis and Antimicrobial Resistance.”

Kevin Keel, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, will speak about “Urban Wildlife: A One Health Challenge.”

Sudhir Kumar, PhD, Laurel H. Carnell Professor and Director of the Institute of Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine at Temple University, will speak on how “Evolution Informs Genomic Medicine.”

Nina Marano, DVM, MPH,Chief of the Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will speak about “One Health in Action at the CDC: Protecting Health in the United States and Around the World.”

Beverly Strassmann, PhD, Professor of Anthropology and Faculty Associate, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, will speak about “Developmental Origins in Evolutionary Perspective: A 20-Year Prospective Cohort Study of the Dogon of Mali.”

Paul Turner, PhD, Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Yale University School of Medicine, will speak about “Leveraging Evolutionary Trade-Offs and Phage Selection Pressure to Reduce Bacterial Pathogenicity.”

The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health fosters communication among scientists, students, clinicians, and public health professionals who use evolutionary insights to improve medical research and practice, and information on human health and disease to advance evolutionary biology.  ISEMPH sponsors annual meetings, the journal Evolution, Medicine, & Public HealthThe Evolution and Medicine Review, and EvMedEd.

Have questions? Email us at:  meeting@isemph.orgHosting Committee Chair: Elizabeth Uhl, Associate Professor of Anatomic Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia. 

Program Committee Chair: Michael Muehlenbein, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Baylor University

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Bone & Immune Systems Joined at the Evolutionary Hip

Bone & Immune Systems Joined at the Evolutionary Hip

Jon Laman recommended a wonderful new article in Nature Reviews Immunology “Osteoimmunology: evolving concepts in bone–immune interactions in health and disease” by Masayuki Tsukasaki & Hiroshi Takayanagi. Alas, not open access.


Abstract: In terrestrial vertebrates, bone tissue constitutes the ‘osteoimmune’ system, which functions as a locomotor organ and a mineral reservoir as well as a primary lymphoid organ where haematopoietic stem cells are maintained. Bone and mineral metabolism is maintained by the balanced action of bone cells such as osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes, yet subverted by aberrant and/or prolonged immune responses under pathological conditions. However, osteoimmune interactions are not restricted to the unidirectional effect of the immune system on bone metabolism. In recent years, we have witnessed the discovery of effects of bone cells on immune regulation, including the function of osteoprogenitor cells in haematopoietic stem cell regulation and osteoblast-mediated suppression of haematopoietic malignancies. Moreover, the dynamic reciprocal interactions between bone and malignancies in remote organs have attracted attention, extending the horizon of osteoimmunology. Here, we discuss emerging concepts in the osteoimmune dialogue in health and disease.

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The evolutionary history of 2,658 cancers

The evolutionary history of 2,658 cancers

A major new open access paper in today’s Nature describes the evolutionary history of somatic mutations that result in cancer. It confirms the primary role of driver mutations and that these often occur early in development, just as Steve Frank predicted in his 2007 book Dynamics of Cancer. Later mutations are much more likely to be divergent.

Abstract: Cancer develops through a process of somatic evolution1,2. Sequencing data from a single biopsy represent a snapshot of this process that can reveal the timing of specific genomic aberrations and the changing influence of mutational processes3. Here, by whole-genome sequencing analysis of 2,658 cancers as part of the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) Consortium of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)4, we reconstruct the life history and evolution of mutational processes and driver mutation sequences of 38 types of cancer. Early oncogenesis is characterized by mutations in a constrained set of driver genes, and specific copy number gains, such as trisomy 7 in glioblastoma and isochromosome 17q in medulloblastoma. The mutational spectrum changes significantly throughout tumour evolution in 40% of samples. A nearly fourfold diversification of driver genes and increased genomic instability are features of later stages. Copy number alterations often occur in mitotic crises, and lead to simultaneous gains of chromosomal segments. Timing analyses suggest that driver mutations often precede diagnosis by many years, if not decades. Together, these results determine the evolutionary trajectories of cancer, and highlight opportunities for early cancer detection.

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