I am a biological anthropologist interested in understanding how developmental exposures influence human biological variation. In order to explore these processes my current work addresses how contemporary human environments, which are largely shaped by social and political inequalities, influence a woman's biology and that of her developing fetus. Utilizing data from a birth cohort I created in Auckland, New Zealand I am investigating how maternal stress experience at multiple levels of analysis (i.e. material deprivation, experience of discrimination, and neighborhood quality) influences maternal and offspring biology, with a specific focus on stress physiology and epigenetic modifications in offspring.
In addition to continuing my work in New Zealand I am also interested in understanding environmental contributors to health disparities in the US. Through a Junior Faculty Development Fellowship with the Native Elder Research Center I am developing a project to explore how early environmental experience influences disparities in health among American Indians.
My overall research goal is to contribute findings of interest to evolutionary anthropologists as well as public health professionals. I am strongly motivated to increase public understanding of evolution, developmental plasticity and the social construction of "race."