I joined Yale as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2016. My research examines growth, health, and reproductive outcomes across the life course, particularly in relation to breastfeeding practices, diet, and microbial exposures. I am an affiliate of the Tsimane Health and Life History Project (Bolivia) and the Chaco Area Reproductive Ecology Project (Argentina). My research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. I am currently investigating the relative influence of linear growth vs. adiposity in predicting time to menarche among Qom females. My previous and ongoing research with the Tsimane has focused on several questions relevant to the study of human reproductive ecology, evolutionary medicine, and public health. Does the traditional Tsimane diet favorably affect maternal breast milk fatty acid profiles? Do exposures to certain parasites increase or decrease risk of infection with others? How do these infections affect fertility outcomes? How do Tsimane mothers, who breastfeed on demand, determine when to start introducing complementary foods? Do shorter exclusive breastfeeding durations predict poorer outcomes for infants or relatively reduced energy expenditure for mothers? How does the introduction of complementary feeding, including premastication, influence development of Tsimane infant oral and gut microbiomes?
I received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, and my MA and PhD in Integrative Anthropological Sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara. I have a Certificate in College and University Teaching and have taught courses in Human Variation, Evolutionary Medicine, and Statistical Methods for the Behavioral Sciences.
Blackwell et al. (2015). Helminth infection, fecundity, and age of first pregnancy in human females. Science: 350:970-972