Human Biodemography Lab

University of California at Santa Barbara

Directors: Professors Michael Gurven and Aaron Blackwell

Lab Manager: Benjamin Trumble


Under the direction of Professors Michael Gurven and Aaron Blackwell, the Human Biodemography Lab integrates evolutionary biology and demography to better understand the range of variation in human health, physiology, and the life course from infancy to old age. Based within the Neuroscience Research Institute, our BSL-2 wet lab utilizes enzyme immunoassays to measure biomarkers of stress, immune function, nutritional status, infection, and reproductive hormones to explore the individual and population-level determinants of human health, and to test functional hypotheses from an evolutionary perspective. 

Specializing in high-throughput biomarker quantification in blood, urine, and saliva, this facility serves UCSB researchers and others interested in biological aspects of human health and development in clinical, field, and experimental settings. 

Lab Bench View from Lab Balcony

Located on the picturesque shore of the Pacific Ocean, this laboratory is designed to both process and analyze a variety of biomarkers, and to provide classroom and individual assistance for motivated students and researchers interested in human evolution and biodemography.  With an emphasis on less-invasive and field-friendly biomarker collection, we offer novel approaches to a traditionally clinical field of study, expanding our breadth of knowledge about human variation.

Our laboratory facilities are equipped for enzyme immunoassays and point-of-care analyses, as well as incubation and cell culture work related to immune function.  These facilities can also be adapted to process many commercial assays depending on our research needs.

For more information, please contact Professors Gurven or Blackwell.