Bio

Curriculum Vitae

I am completing my PhD in Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.  I will defend my dissertation, "The life history significance of human breast milk: immune and endocrine factors as indicators of maternal condition and predictors of infant growth" in spring 2015.  This project investigates the relationship between maternal energetic condition and milk composition, and the ways in which milk composition is related to infant outcomes, including rates of illness and growth.  I conducted my fieldwork among the Toba people of northeast Argentina, under the umbrella of the CARE Project (Dr. Claudia Valeggia, PI).  My dissertation committee is composed of Dr. Valeggia, Dr. Katie Hinde, and my primary advisor, Dr. Peter Ellison.

My dissertation project is just one manifestation of my enduring interest in the fields of maternal and infant health.  Evidence-based maternity care and removing barriers to optimal breastfeeding are particular interests of mine.  I was the cofounder and teaching fellow of a popular undergraduate course on birth, which covered evolutionary perspectives, hormonal physiology, crosscultural comparisons, and consideration of how common obstetrical interventions interface with the biology of birth.  I trained as a birth doula (though I am currently not practicing) and I am a huge supporter of a midwife centered model of maternity care.  I recently had the opportunity to co-write an article about evidence-based care for prelabor rupture of membranes for the well-respected blog Evidence Based Birth.  That article can be found here.