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Evolutionary Medicine


I teach the Evolutionary Medicine Master’s course as part of the Human Behaviour and Evolution (HBE), and BioSocial Medical Anthropology Master's programmes at UCL.


In this module, we explore  questions such as “Why do we get sick?”, “Why hasn’t natural selection eliminated the genes causing schizophrenia?” and “Why do we age?”. We do so by exploring the applications of the tools and concepts of evolutionary biology to human health. Incorporating examples from my ongoing research, we cover a range of topics including:

  • Evolution and human-microbe interactions

  • Hunter-gatherers as models in public health

  • Diet, exercise, evolutionary mismatches and NCDs

  • Human life-history, development and reproductive health 

  • Evolutionary perspectives on mental health and wellbeing

  • Cultural evolution and health behaviour 

  • Applied evolutionary medicine: future of medicine and how evolutionary thinking can be applied to current health problems.

More information at UCL module catalogue.  








Graduate students have opportunities to conduct research with me on the topic of their interest, broadly using evolutionary approaches to human health and behaviour.

Students and researchers have also joined me in fieldwork in Congo. If you are interested, please get in touch! Fieldwork in Congo requires: Being adventurous and open to other cultures, and a good level of spoken French.

Deniz, a BaYaka participant, Gaurav (MD) and Sarai (UCL MSci student) collecting health data in Congo '18

Current and previous graduate students:

Luke Kretschmer (PhD student '19-ongoing): Physical activity patterns in BaYaka hunter-gatherers 


Abi Bevan (MSc HBE '19-20): Behavioural responses to future uncertainties caused by COVID-19 

Ji (Coco) Zhi (MSc HBE '19-20): Social interaction networks and transmission of plant knowledge in BaYaka

Gray Wirtanen (MSc HBE '18-19): Childrearing practices in hunter-gatherers and Western societies and developmental outcomes

Inez Derkx (MSc HBE '17-18): Social networks and disease transmission in BaYaka

Sarai Keestra (MSci Human Sciences '17-18): Meal patterns and dietary transitions in BaYaka

Jairo Bouer (MSc HBE '17-18): Development of social learning and play in BaYaka children

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