Dr. Fabian Crespo, PhD

Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies


Today, I identify myself as a biological anthropologist interested in human evolutionary immunology. I received my Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Buenos Aires(Argentina) in 1998; and soon after my Ph.D. dissertation, I re-directed my career and decided to focus my research and teaching agenda on different aspects of human immunology. In 2000, I moved to USA where in 2001 I started my postdoctoral research at the University of Louisville(Kentucky).

From 2001-2005 (Post-Doctoral track-Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Louisville) I worked under the supervision of Dr. Rafael Fernandez-Botran on diverse projects focused on cytokine biology and cancer immunology [see publications 1-5].

From 2006-2010 (Assistant Professor-Term Appt.- Dept. of Anthropology and Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville) I worked in collaboration with Dr. Manuel Casanova (Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Louisville) and Dr. Irene Litvan (Department of Neurology, University of Louisville) on different projects studying the role of inflammation and cytokine expression on brain disorders such as Autism and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy [see publications 6 and 7].

From 2011-2017 (Assistant Professor-Tenure Track) and 2018-present (Associate Professor - Dept. of Anthropology, University of Louisville). During the last decade, my main research goal is the study of the immune system, and how different forces (especially infectious diseases) have shaped the inflammatory responses and the overall immune competence in different human populations.  However, understanding the heterogeneous immunological landscapes observed in past populations requires a multidisciplinary approach combining experimental immunology, bioarchaeology, and history. My current projects have a biosocial approach when studying how chronic infections such as syphilis, plague, tuberculosis, leprosy, or yellow fever affected and re-shaped our immune competence. All projects involve collaborations with different researchers from national and international institutions. Locally, I am currently working with colleagues from University of South Carolina; Ohio State University; American Museum of Natural History, Mississippi State University; George Mason University; and University of Georgia; and internationally with colleagues from Durham University-England; National Institute of Anthropology and University of Buenos Aires-Argentina.

Two main events had a great influence on my research (and teaching) plans. In 2010, my participation in brainstorming meetings in the Ohio State University for the Global History Health Projecthttp://global.sbs.ohio-state.edu (Directors: Dr. Clark Spencer Larsen and Dr. Richard Steckel) and in 2012 my participation in the NEH Summer Seminar on Health and Disease in the Middle Ages at the Wellcome Library, London, England: http://healthanddisease2012.acmrs.org/index.html(Directors: Dr. Monica Green and Dr. Rachel Scott), helped me to generate a more challenging interdisciplinary research agenda.

After these transforming experiences, my current  projects are:

1. Reconstructing the impact of medieval plague on the immune system in human populations.
Article published (November 2014) in the special issue on Black Death for The Medieval Globe [8]

2. Detecting inflammatory shifts and systemic inflammation in past populations: invitation for a new dialogue between immunology and bioarchaeology.
Article published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology[9]

3. Exploring the hypothesis on cross-immunity between tuberculosis and leprosy.
Article published in the International Journal of Paleopathology [10] 

4. Exploring the integration between osteoimmunology and reconstruction of inflammatory phenotypes in skeletal samples.
Chapter published in Theoretical Approaches in Bioarchaeology[11]

5. Mapping (GIS) the osteological evidence for tuberculosis and leprosy in Medieval Europe.

Please, contact me if you have any questions about my current projects. I will be really happy expanding my ideas and rationale for each of them. I am willing to accept graduate students, contact me if you have any questions.


VISIT MY STUDENTS (Current and Former)