Evolutionary Anthropology Reveals the History of Population Health

Why are some diseases more commonly found in some populations than others, while other diseases are common to all populations?

Dr. Tillquist’s research interests lie at the intersection of evolution anthropology and population health. Using population and statistical genetics, phylogeography, and bioinformatics, he is working to better understand how population history and subsequent population structure have patterned human genetic variation, and how regional gene pools may be driving differences in human biology and predisposition to complex traits and now common chronic diseases. He is actively collaborating with colleagues from the UofL School of Public Health and Information sciences to develop a research program that leverages characteristics of isolated populations to discover genes implicated in predisposition to (or protection from) type 2 diabetes. They also seek to better understand how these genes contribute to variability in human biology, namely differences in metabolism.

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