The following Anthropology mentors conduct research pertaining to the study and conservation of biodiversity:


Kari Allen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences; Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the Washington University School of Medicine

My research focuses on the interpretation of adaptive function in the fossil record via comparative mammalian anatomy and behavior and the use of these data to reconstruct ecological and evolutionary pressures acting on extinct primate communities. In particular, two main points of interest are: 1) the timing and ecological correlates of brain size evolution, brain proportions, and cranial anatomy in primates, and 2) the use of cranio-dental anatomy to reconstruct ecological adaptations (e.g. feeding ecology) in the fossil record.

Amy Bauernfeind, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the Washington University School of Medicine

I am interested in how the biology of the brain underlies a species’ particular cognitive specializations and behavioral repertoire. My research program investigates neuroanatomical and molecular variation in primates to address questions of evolutionary significance, particularly with regard to the unique cognitive abilities of humans. I use two approaches when evaluating research questions of these types: molecular expression and quantitative neuroanatomical techniques. Additional work pertains to differences in regional neuronal morphology across species.

David Browman, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Archaeology in the College of Arts & Sciences, Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology

One focus of my continuing research is upon the events that gave rise to the origins of plant and animal domestication, ultimately resulting in the formation of the pristine state. A second major focus recently has been upon the evolution of the philosophical approaches that Americanist archaeologists have created to investigate the development of socio-political complexity over time. Attention to historical archaeology and the history of archaeology continually reveal empire building in the field, as well as long-term biases regarding various gendered and regional groups.

Gayle Fritz, PhD

Professor of Archaeology in the College of Arts & Sciences

I work with archaeobotanical remains to answer questions about how people interacted with plants so that they could eat and drink well, manage their landscapes, restore and maintain health, perform rituals, negotiate trade relationships, and enhance many other economic and social activities.  Much of my research focuses on processes of plant domestication and sequences leading to the development of agricultural systems worldwide, especially in North America and Mexico.  General concerns and approaches involve cultural, ecological, and biological aspects of subsistence change and continuity. Recently I’ve become interested in food-ways resulting from interaction between Native Americans and European colonizers.

Tristram R. Kidder, PhD

Edward S. and Tedi Marcias Professor of Environmental Studies, Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences

I have two main research interests: First, what causes people to arrange themselves through time into increasingly complex forms of social organization? Second, how do climate and environment shape human societies through time? Related to this, I am especially interested in the Anthropocene concept, which argues that humans have come to rival nature as a force shaping the earth. My work therefore explores how, when, and to what extent humans have changed climates and especially their environments.

Xinyi Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor of Archaeology in the College of Arts & Sciences

Our lab is involved in a range of research focused on early food-webs. We favor multidisciplinary research, and here in the lab isotope scientists, archaegologists and archaeobotanists work closely to address questions about diet and nutrition, palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment. Our recent projects have included: Eurasian crop plant movement, African terrestrial climate variability, consumption and domestication of small grained grass, environmental context of the food quest in Tibet.

Fiona Marshall, PhD

James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor in Arts and Sciences of Anthropology

My research focuses on animal domestication and the beginnings of food production in Africa. I am currently conducting research on two unlikely domesticates, donkeys and cats. I am currently conducting interdisciplinary research on the domestication of the donkey with archaeological, morphometric, genetic, behavioral and ethnoarchaeological components.  My research and that of my graduate students contributes to understanding human-animal relations, complex interactions among ancient agricultural, pastoral and hunter-gatherer societies in Africa, the history and resilience of livestock and herding ways of life, and the sustainability of use of African grasslands.

Krista Milich, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Krista Milich is a primate behavioral ecologist and socioendocrinologist with a particular interest in reproductive physiology and sexual selection. Her work aims to not only understand the proximate and ultimate mechanisms associated with the evolution of primate social systems, but also to use that knowledge to inform primate conservation efforts.

Terrence Ritzman, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the Washington University School of Medicine

I am a physical anthropologist interested in the comparative anatomy of the skull in primates as it relates to human evolution. I employ the comparative method and direct studies of fossil hominins to make inferences regarding the evolutionary processes that operated during the course of human evolution, as well as the patterns, documented by the fossil record, that were produced by these processes. I am also continuing my research program relating to the evolution of the skull and brain in the hominin lineage.

Crickette Sanz, PhD

Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences

My research focuses on understanding the factors which have led to the emergence and promoted the maintenance of behavioral diversity in primates. I am particularly interested in the variation of social organization and material culture that has been documented among wild chimpanzee populations. This pursuit involves field studies and collaborative projects to examine instraspecific variation in the behavioral ecology of wild chimpanzees. These studies hold important insights for elucidating the role of ultimate and proximate forces in primate evolutionary history, which will aid in constructing valid models of human evolution from our closest living relatives.

Glenn Davis Stone, PhD

Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences

My research is on environmental anthropology, political ecology, food studies, and science & technology studies. I am particularly interested in the social and political aspects of agricultural systems; agricultural sustainability; intensification and industrialization;  indigenous knowledge; responses to population increase; agricultural biotechnology; and alternative food/farming systems.  I have worked on past and contemporary nonindustrialized farmers in Africa, India, the Philippines, and North America. One focus of my present research is on the spread of genetically modified crops in developing countries.

David Strait, PhD

Professor of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences

I am a paleoanthropologist who studies the fossil record of human evolution. Humans diverged from non-human apes about seven million years ago in Africa, and my research is directed towards trying to understand several key aspects of our evolutionary history. First, I am interested in understanding how and why the various species of early humans (known as hominins) diversified.  Second, I am interested in the evolution of diet and feeding in fossil hominins. Third, I am interested in paleoanthropological fieldwork. In order to better understand human evolution, it is vital to discover new fossils in order to understand their variation, diversity, evolutionary relationships and ecological context.

Erik Trinkaus, PhD

Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences

My research is concerned with the evolution of the genus Homo as a background to recent human diversity. I have focused on the paleoanthropological study of late archaic and early modern humans, emphasizing biological reflections of the nature, degree and patterning of the behavioral shifts between these two groups of Pleistocene humans. This research includes considerations of the “origins of modern humans” phylogenetic debate, the interpretation of the archeological record, and patterns of recent human anatomical variations.

Emily Wroblewski, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Emily Wroblewski is an anthropological geneticist studying primate molecular ecology, population genetics, and evolutionary genetics/genomics. Dr. Wroblewski studies a variety of species, currently focusing on studies of wild African apes (chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla) and monkeys. Her work sits at the intersection of (ecological) immunology, disease ecology, and behavioral ecology. Of particular interest, Dr. Wroblewski studies the genetics/genomics of diverse and rapidly-evolving gene complexes that encode molecules important to innate and adaptive immunity. She studies how variation within these genes, and the molecules they encode, relates to immunity and patterns of disease (such as SIV and malaria) in wild populations, and she elucidates the patterns of selection and co-evolution between host and pathogens that has occurred within the primate lineage. Because certain immune molecules have additional functions in reproduction and social behavior, Dr. Wroblewski also uses their patterns of molecular diversity to understand how the selective pressures from these different, and often-competing, components of fitness have been balanced throughout primate evolution.