Department of Biological Sciences
Research in the Lea lab sits at the intersection of evolutionary biology, genomics, and human health research. Much of our work focuses on two questions: (i) what are the molecular mechanisms that connect environmental challenges (e.g., social or nutritional stress) experienced across the life course with compromised health? and (ii) why do health outcomes vary among individuals exposed to the same environmental challenge? Our primary study systems are small-scale, subsistence-level populations that are currently transitioning to more urban and market-integrated lifestyles. We focus on subsistence-level populations because they experience socioecological variation representative of human evolutionary history, and because they provide opportunities to investigate how major, ongoing environmental shifts-namely urbanization and market-integration-impact health.
Keywords: evolutionary biology , evolutionary medicine , human genomics , human epigenomics , biological anthropology ,
Research Area: Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolism , Gene Regulation , Genomics