An Associate Professor of Earth System Science and a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, I am a biological anthropologist with interests in biodemography, life history theory, and the human ecology of infectious disease. Biological anthropology is the study of the origins and maintenance of human diversity and the axis of diversity that defines my research interests is the stunning variation across populations and through time in the fundamental quantities of demography: age-specific mortality and fertility rates. Two major sources of variation in human mortality are the differential impact of (1) infectious disease and (2) violence across populations and through time. Theory, in turn, predicts that fertility should respond to the variation in mortality. As a consequence, I see studying both infectious disease and violence as necessary predicates for understanding the diversity of the human demographic experience. My work is broadly comparative and I use studies of nonhuman primate life histories and infectious diseases to provide a broad perspective on these phenomena in humans. I have a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Harvard and did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, and the Center for AIDS and STDs at the University of Washington.
In addition to my postions at Stanford, from 2013-2018, I was a Senior Scientist at Imperial College, London in a multidisciplinary center called Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment.