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Evolution in Health and Medicine

Organized by Peter Ellison, Diddahally R. Govindaraju, Randolph M. Nesse and Stephen C. Stearns

April 2-3, 2009
Washington, DC

Meeting Overview:
Evolution, genetics and medicine share a long and distinguished tradition. Although evolutionary biology and genetics merged during the Modern Synthesis of the mid- 20th century, medicine has remained isolated from the evolutionary half of the synthesis. This is somewhat surprising, given that the foundations for much of the present day medical and human genetics, were laid by the evolutionary insights of pioneering physicians long before DNA's functions were understood. Many medical applications of evolutionary biology are only now being recognized. This colloquium will include evolutionary biologists, physician scientists, human geneticists and biologists, epidemiologists, veterinary scientists and ethicists who are working towards an interdisciplinary synthesis that will bring the full power of evolutionary biology to bear in medicine, public health and related fields devoted to human and animal health and welfare.

Video Available

Introduction, Peter Ellison, Harvard University

 Overview of Evolutionary Applications in Medicine
Randolph Nesse, University of Michigan

Session I: Evolutionary Genetics in Human Health
A. Genome Architecture and Natural Selection
     Chair: Barbara Schaal, Washington University in St. Louis

 Genome Architecture in Human Health
Michael Lynch, Indiana University

 Reproductive Ecology and Reproductive Health
Peter Ellison, Harvard University

 Phenotypic Selection
David Houle, Florida State University

B. Genetic and Epigenetic Factors
     Chair: Diddahally Govindaraju, Boston University

 Mutational Load and Health
Adam Eyre-Walker, University of Sussex

 Genomic Rearrangements and Copy Number Variations
James Lupski, Baylor College of Medicine

 Epigenetics, Evolution and Disease
Andrew Feinberg, Johns Hopkins University

Session II: Development, Demography, and Disease
Chair: Stephen Stearns, Yale University

 Dissecting the Genetic Architecture of Human Fertility Traits
Carole Ober, University of Chicago

 Intergenerational Transfers and the Evolution of the Human Life Cycle
David Haig, Harvard University

 The Evolution of Contemporary Human Health
Stephen Stearns, Yale University

 Evolution and Aging and Age Related Disorders
Caleb Finch, University of Southern California

Session III: Gene by Environment Interactions and Complex Diseases
Chair: Peter Ellison, Harvard University

 Evolutionary Pathways of Drug Resistance
Daniel Hartl, Harvard University

 Evolution and Cancer
Steven Frank, University of California, Irvine

 Inbreeding, Human Evolution, and Complex Diseases
Alan Bittles, Edith Cowan University

Annual Sackler Public Lecture

Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences

 Evolution and the Future of the Earth
Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

Session IV: Co-Evolution of Pathogen and Hosts
Chair: Jeffrey Flier, Harvard University

 The Emergence and Evolution of Viral Pathogens
Edward Holmes, Pennsylvania State University

 The Evolution of Pathogen Resistance
Carl Bergstrom, University of Washington

 Evolution and the Immune System
Christopher Dascher, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

 Coevolution of Parasites and Immunity
Kathleen Barnes, Johns Hopkins University

Session V. Evolution, Mental health and Therapeutics
Chair: Randolph Nesse, University of Michigan

 Environment and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Ezra Susser, Columbia University

 The Genomic and Cognitive Architecture of Autism and Psychosis
Bernard Crespi, Simon Fraser University

Genomic Analysis of Schizophrenia Guided by an Evolutionary Model
Mary-Claire King, University of Washington

Keynote Address:
Evolution, Health and Medicine
Harvey Fineberg, President, Institution of Medicine

Session VI: Changing Future Trajectories for Evolution in Medicine and Public Health
Chair: Mary-Claire King, University of Washington

Bringing Evolutionary Biology into Medical Education
Jeffrey Flier, Harvard University, Peter Gluckman, University of Auckland, Mark Schwartz, NYU

 Policy Recommendations and Final Thoughts
Gilbert Omenn, University of Michigan, Randolph Nesse, University of Michigan, David Valle, Johns Hopkins University

Summary of the Meeting
Stephen Stearns, Yale University

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