I and my students and collaborators use principles from anthropology and evolutionary biology to gain insights into the biological and health impacts of human developmental plasticity. In particular, we focus on the long-term effects of intrauterine and early postnatal environments on human development, adult health, reproduction and life history. Other projects focus on the psychobiology of social relationships, genetics and molecular biology, the evolution of the human brain and evolutionary medicine. See Projects and Publications pages for more.

Curriculum vita

Recent research highlights (pubs page has full list of pdfs)

McDade TW, Ryan C, Jones M, MacIsaac JL, Morin AM, Meyer J, Borja J, Miller G, Kobor MS, Kuzawa CW (in press), “Social and physical environments early in development predict DNA methylation of inflammatory genes in young adulthood” Proc Nat Acad Sci

Anton S, Kuzawa CW, “Early Homo, plasticity, and the extended evolutionary synthesis” Interface Focus

Fried RL, Mayol NL, McDade TW, Kuzawa CW “Maternal metabolic adaptations to pregnancy among young women in Cebu, Philippines” Am J Hum Biol

Kuzawa CW, Georgiev AV, McDade TW, Agustin Bechayda S, Gettler LT (2016) “Is there a testosterone awakening response in humans?Adap Hum Behav Physiol 2(2):166-83.

McDade TW, Georgiev A, Kuzawa CW (2016), “Trade-offs between acquired and innate immune defenses in humans” Evol Med Public Health 1: 1-16

Gettler LT, McDade TW, Bragg JM, Feranil AB, Kuzawa CW (2015), “Developmental energetics, sibling death, and parental instability as predictors of maturational tempo and life history scheduling in males from Cebu, PhilippinesAm J Physiol Anthropol 158:175-84.

Thayer ZM, Kuzawa CW (2015), “Ethnic discrimination predicts poor self-rated health and cortisol in pregnancy: Insights from New ZealandSoc Sci Med 128: 36-42.

**see our study that links the energetic costs of brain development to the evolution of slow childhood growth in humans:

Kuzawa CW, Grossman LI, Lipovich L, Muzik O, Hof PR, Wildman DE, Sherwood CC, Chugani HT, Leonard WR, Lange N (2014), "Energetic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development" Proc Nat Acad Sci. Download Supporting information. *coverage in Science

**also see a commentary warning against mother-blaming in media coverage of developmental origins/epigenetics research:

Richardson SS, Daniels CR, Gillman MW, Golden J, Kukla R, Kuzawa C, Rich-Edwards J (2014), "Society: Don't blame the mothers", Nature 512(7513):131-2. *coverage at NPR

Thayer ZM, Kuzawa CW (2014), "Early origins of health disparities: Material deprivation predicts maternal evening cortisol in pregnancy and offspring cortisol reactivity in the first few weeks of life" Am J Hum Biol 26(6):723-30.

Gettler LT, Agustin S, McDade TW, Kuzawa CW (2013), "Do testosterone declines during the transition to marriage and fatherhood relate to men's sexual behavior? Evidence from the Philippines" Horm Behav 64(5):755-63.

van Noordwijk MA, Kuzawa CW, van Schaik CP, "The Evolution of the Patterning of Human Lactation: a Comparative Perspective" Evol Anthropol 22:202-212.

Kuzawa CW, Bragg JM (2012), "Plasticity in human life history strategy: Implications for contemporary human variation and the evolution of genus Homo" Current Anthropology, 53(Suppl. 6), s369-s382.

van Noordwijk MA, Willems EP, Atmoko SSU, Kuzawa CW, van Schaik CP, "Multi-year lactation and its consequences in Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii)" Behav Ecol Sociobiol 67(5): 805-814.

Alcock J, Franklin ML, Kuzawa CW (2012), "Nutrient signaling: the evolutionary origins of the immune modulating effects of dietary fat" Quarterly Review Biology, 87(3):187-223

Eisenberg DTAE, Hayes, MG, Kuzawa CW (2012), "Evidence that delaying paternal age of reproduction in humans lengthens telomeres across two generations of descendants" Proc Nat Academy of Sciences, 109(26): 10251-6. **Listen to s a radio piece on BBC The World.

Gettler, LT, McDade TW, Feranil AB, Kuzawa CW (2011), Longitudinal evidence that fatherhood decreases testosterone in human males. Proc Nat Acad of Sci. Supporting information. **see coverage of our fatherhood testosterone story in the New York Times and hear an interview on the BBC World Service. Here is a nicely done television report from Channel 4 (UK). We also discuss the study's findings and implications in more detail on a Guest Blog on the Scientific American blog network.

Dr. Kuzawa is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and a founding member of Cells 2 Society, Northwestern’s interdisciplinary center for the study of health disparities.


Department of Anthropology
Northwestern University
1810 Hinman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60208

phone: 847-467-4302
fax: 847-467-1778
email: kuzawa at northwestern dot edu

Laboratory for Human Biology Research  •  Department of Anthropology  •  Northwestern University