Cynthia M. Beall
Case Western Reserve University
Election Year: 1996
Primary Section: 51, Anthropology
Secondary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Membership Type: Member
My research pursues two main themes. The first is how populations with different microevolutionary histories adapt to the unavoidable lifelong environmental stress of high-altitude hypoxia. My field work with populations on the Andean plateau of South America, the Tibetan Plateau of Central Asia, and the Simien Plateau of East Africa has revealed that there are two different patterns of adaptation to hypoxia rather than the single universal human response envisioned by classical environmental physiologists. Expanding the usual focus on young adult males to include males and females at all stages of the life cycle and combining physiological and quantitative genetic approaches have been integral to these findings. The second theme is the influence of the sociocultural environment, which can both create and buffer stress and can have beneficial and detrimental effects on human biology.