Biological Anthropology


Current members of the Laboratory for Human Biology Research include its faculty directors and affiliates, graduate students and postdocs.


Thomas McDade, Professor

  • Email:
  • Phone: 847-467-4304
  • Office: 1810 Hinman, #202
  • Interests: Human biology, biocultural perspectives on health and human development, medical anthropology, ecological immunology, stress and health.

William Leonard, Professor

  • Email:
  • Phone: 847-491-4839
  • Office: 1810 Hinman, #A55
  • Interests: Biological anthropology, adaptability, growth and development, nutrition; South American, Asia, US.

Chris Kuzawa, Professor

  • Email:
  • Phone: 847-467-4302
  • Office: 1810 Hinman, #A54B
  • Interests: Developmental and evolutionary perspectives on health and disease, Human growth and development, Public health and biocultural perspectives on cardiovascular disease.

Faculty Affiliates

Geoff Hayes, Associate Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine

  • Phone: 312-503-0006
  • Office: Tarry Building, # 15-703, 300 E. Superior, Chicago 60611

Graduate students and postdocs

Jared Bragg, PhD Candidate 2012

  • Interests: Cooperative breeding and the human life history, reproductive energetics, reproductive ecology, life history evolution and development, aging and reproductive senescence.

Ruby Fried, Doctoral Student 2012

  • Interests: Biological anthropology

Morgan Hoke, Doctoral Student 2010

  • Interests: Biocultural anthropology, reproductive health, growth and development, altitude studies, market integration, the Andes. 

Stephanie Levy, Doctoral Student 2010

  • Interests: Adaptability, human energetics, circumpolar regions, developmental origins of health and disease.

Aaron Miller, PhD 2013

  • Interests: My research involves working from an evolutionary theoretical background that examines the plasticity of human biology and asks how do aspects of biology respond to the environment in adaptive ways.  I am specifically conducting research on a population of indigenous Bolivian woman and studying how their reproductive functioning responds to varying energetic conditions.  A large portion of my current work is exploring possible hormonal ways to measure energetic states, with a particular focus on the hormone leptin and its variation across populations.  More recently I have become involved in a collaborative project comparing the breastfeeding practices of lowland Bolivian and Chicago women. 
My research interests include Human reproductive ecology, energetic's, nutrition, breastfeeding, and research methods (both laboratory and field).

Kim McCabe, Doctoral Student 2011

  • Interests: Human microbiome, symbiosis, microbial ecology and human biology, developmental origins of health and disease. 

Lauren Slubowski, PhD/MPH 2014

  • Interests: Nutrition as a crucial intersection of society and biology which moderates health outcomes. I am distressed by the strikingly disparate rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes among social groups in the United States and other developed countries; I am convinced that they are not merely due to physiological differences, but are rather consequent of the social and cultural context in which particular populations are embedded. I believe that only a comprehensive understanding of nutrition, with emphasis on social and economic factors that dictate food choice, food availability, and physical activity can lead to effective solutions to the "obesity crisis" which disproportionately impacts persons of low socioeconomic status and particular racial/ethic groups within the United States. I am currently enrolled in a joint Anthropology PhD/Masters in Public Health program with the aim to merge both social science and healthcare perspectives and techniques in addressing these issues. Generally, I am interested in social disparities in health, nutritional health physiology, food and culture, stress as a health modifier, nutrition and development, social ecology, and the relevance of biological variation and adaptation to understanding health outcomes.

Paula Tallman, PhD 2015

  • Interests: Culture change, stress, somatic symptoms, and physiological functioning in the Amazon.

Zaneta Thayer, PhD 2013

  • Interests: Evolutionary biology and the importance of development in bringing about evolutionary change. At present I am interested in studying the influence of maternal stress on fetal development. Aside from investigating the differences in outcome depending on the timing and type of stressor, I am also interested in the mechanisms by which maternal experience is relayed to the developing fetus. One of the mechanisms that I am interested in investigating is change in epigenetic status in offspring of mothers that are stressed as opposed to those that are not. I hope that this research can ultimately be applied to the health disparities literature to demonstrate that the underpinning of disparities are laid during early development.