Professor, Graduate Program in Biomedical Anthropology
Director, NIH-BU Serum Archive Facility
Natural Experiments: Food Chain Disorders and Health Transitions in Isolated and Modernizing Populations
Monday, November 28, 2011
AA-G008, 5:00 PM
Throughout the evolution of our species, the human food chain has had a major impact on our health outcomes. Examples of such impacts among isolated and modernizing human populations are many. Without intervention, the long-term consequences of these changes has had or can have a devastating impact on a population. Research will be presented from our early and current field and laboratory work on food chain disorders and health transitions, all of which involve evolutionary processes and consequences at a population level.
Ralph M. Garruto was trained as a multidisciplinary scientist at Penn State. As a human population biologist/biomedical anthropologist/neuroscientist representing a transdisciplinary science, his research focus has been on natural experimental models of disease using both a field and laboratory approach. For most of his career, he has conducted fieldwork among remote population groups in the Pacific Islands, China Siberia, Latin America, and the Caribbean in the search for high incidence foci of unique or unusual diseases having widespread biomedical significance. His field research program has provided the basis for his laboratory studies of cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal degeneration and in vivo and in vitro experimental modeling of diseases of unknown etiology. Research emphasis has been on gene-environment interactions, health transitions, food chain disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases, studies that involve both children and adults.
- Garruto RM, Little MA, James GD, and Brown DE. 1999. Natural experimental models: the global search for biomedical paradigms among traditional, modernizing, and modern populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 96: 10536-10543. [PDF]