I am an evolutionary anthropologist aiming to explain behavior and physiological systems as adaptive solutions to competing demands of limited resource allocation. My perspective is informed by behavioral ecology, life history theory and human biology. I employ ethnographic field settings as laboratories for testing hypotheses about human variation in behavior, psychology and physiology.
Currently my research focuses on two broad, inter-related areas:
(1) biodemography of human lifespan and aging. I am interested in the roles of pathogens, diet, activity and reproduction in shaping the aging process - including immune function and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
(2) social and economic behavior. I study ultimate and proximate explanations for the diversity of pro-social behaviors we find in small-scale populations, and how pro-sociality changes with socioeconomic transformation.
I am co-director of the Tsimane Life History and Health Project, funded by NIH/NIA and NSF. I am Chair of the Integrative Anthropological Sciences Unit of the Anthropology Dept., and Area Director of Biodemography and Evolution at the Broom Center for Demography.
I have conducted fieldwork with three South American indigenous populations, the Ache of Paraguay, and the Tsimane and Mosetene of Bolivia.
University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106