All posts by Jannelle Couret

Aging & cancer

Cancer is more common in older people than the young, and there is by no means agreement on why this is true. Antagonistic pleiotropy has been proposed as the genetic mechanism underlying life-history trade-offs. Dr. Sharpless studies the process of aging and its relationship to cancer and degenerative diseases. This is a video of an interview in which I think he does a good job to ¬†explaining his research – both in mice and in humans. It’s long, but gives a good example of both scientific hypothesis testing and a bit of the history of this field. ¬†¬†Norman Sharpless interview


C. difficileMove over evolutionary medicine and make room for evolutionary veterinary medicine. Actually, it seems vets have had a handle on using evolutionary reasoning for quite some time. For example, fecal transplants to restore micobiome health after C. diff infection is an established technique for cattle! Perhaps this explains why my terrier looks at week old dog poop on the sidewalk like he just found buried treasure. The website has loads of great resources and articles:



There are more courses in evolutionary medicine now than ever. Here is a link to a list of undergraduate and graduate course syllabi on the topic. Our course syllabus in posted on blackboard. How does it stack up? What topics from similar courses would you like to see covered? In general, this is also a great resource for finding presentation topics and ‘poaching’ papers to post and discuss on our blog.


Welcome to the course blog for biol285: Evolutionary Medicine. This is a space for students and others to discuss topics relating to the interface of evolutionary biology, human health, and disease.

Course details, including the syllabus and required for class discussions will be posted on blackboard.