Our Lab In The News

UNLV media coverage of our lab

Current Lab Members

Daniel C. Benyshek

Co-Director of Lab
Daniel C. Benyshek
Phone: 702-895-2070

Alyssa Crittenden, Ph.D.

Co-Director of Lab
Headshot of Alyssa Crittenden
Mail Code: 1017
Phone: 702-895-0225

A’liciah Carr

Ph.D. Student
Headshot of A'liciah Carr

Miriam Kopels

Ph.D. Student
Headshot of Miriam Kopels

Julianne Paige

Ph.D. Student
Julianne Paige Headshot

Katie Stansbury

Ph.D. Student
Headshot of Katie Stansbury

Jacob White

Ph.D. Student
Jacob White

Current Research Projects

  • The role maternal prenatal and early postnatal nutrition plays in susceptibility to – and protection from – obesity-related diseases.
  • Animal models of the intergenerational transmission of obesity-related disorders such as type 2 diabetes via developmental plasticity (e.g., epigenetics).
  • Type 2 diabetes community based, prevention programs in the highest risk communities.

Dr. Daniel Benyshek, calibrating a centrifuge in the Nutrition and Reproduction Laboratory.

Graduate student, Trevor Pollom, using a mounted compass to measure wayfinding ability among child foragers during the summer field season, 2017.

Graduate student, Trevor Pollom, using a mounted compass to measure wayfinding ability among child foragers.

  • Spatial Cognition and Navigation (SCAN) among children and juveniles. In collaboration with the SCAN project at the University of Utah
  • Anthropometric measurements of physical growth and macro-level indicators of health and nutrition status
  • Foraging distance and estimates of energy expended – before and during nutrition transition

  • Measurement of diet composition data – before and during nutrition transition
  • 24-hour dietary recalls
  • Estimation of food and water insecurity
  • Hydration strategies and water quality analysis
Alyssa Crittenden conducting 24 hour dietary recall interviews for a study on oral health and nutrition.

Alyssa Crittenden conducting 24 hour dietary recall interviews for a study on oral health and nutrition.

  • Human maternal placentophagy (eating the placenta or ‘afterbirth’ following parturition) in evolutionary and cross cultural context.
  • Human maternal placentophagy as alternative health practice
  • The potential health risks of human maternal placentophagy
  • Human placentophagy and purported maternal benefits, including improved energy, lactation, and mood.

Daniel Benyshek and Sharon Young (Lab alumna) readying to prepare a human placenta for laboratory analysis.

Graduate student, Kristen Herlosky, collecting child interviews for SCAN, August 2017

Graduate student, Kristen Herlosky, collecting child interviews.

  • Ethnography of labor and delivery among Hadza foragers in Tanzania
  • Post-partum health and pain management among the Hadza
  • Continuity and change in reproductive practices of Hadza women undergoing economic transition

Laboratory Alumni

  • Kristen Herlosky, PhD (2023)
    Dissertation: Maternal Health in the Context of Social, Political, and Economic Change among the Hadzabe Foragers of Tanzania
  • Trevor Pollom, PhD (2022)
    Dissertation: Hunter-Gatherers in Context: Hadzabe People and Early Nutrition Transition
  • Kayleigh Meighan, MA (2021)
    Thesis: Prevalence and predictors of postpartum co-sleeping practices after midwife-led births in the United States
  • Stephanie Schnorr, Postdoctoral Fellow (2021)
    Project: Relevance of Positive Selection on Human Salivary Amylase Gene
  • Marlena Gatlin, BA (2020)
    RAMP Project: Maternal Happiness and Unhappiness in Hadza Foragers of Northern Tanzania 
  • Spencer Holmes, BA (2020)
    Project: Documenting the Diversity and Functions of Music in Hadza Life
  • Mayisha Smalls, BA (2020)
    Project: Documenting the Diversity and Functions of Music in Hadza Life
  • Roger Arenas, PhD (2019) Dissertation: Virtually healthy: Using Virtual Ethnography to Survey Healthcare Seeking Practices of Online Transgender Individuals
  • Alina Lindquist BA (2019)
    Honors Thesis: Emic Perspectives on Ritualistic Ingestion of Entheogenic Substances
  • Alexia Janda BA (2019)
    Honors Thesis: An Examination of the Relationship Between Acculturative Stress and Eating and Body Image Disorders Among Asian Americans

  • Elle Ford, BA (2018)
    Anthopometric Measurements of Physical Growth among Hadza Hunter-Gatherer Children (McNair Fellowship)
  • Mariah Clanton, BA (2018)
    Keep Calm and Carry On: Infant Carrying Practices and Motor Development (AANAPISI Fellowship)
  • Celeste Giordano, PhD (2017)
    Aging and Fermentation as Adaptive Food Management Strategies in the Arctic
  • Sharon Young, PhD (2016)
    Effects of Human Maternal Placentophagy on Postpartum Maternal Affect, Health, and Recovery
  • Laura Gryder, MA (2015)
    Effects of Human Maternal Placentophagy on Maternal Postpartum Iron Status
  • Jessica Parsons BA (2014)
    Honors Thesis: A Dollar Per Milligram: An Exploration of the Appalachian Opiate Abuse Epidemic from a Critical Medical Anthropology Perspective
  • Kilian Wells, BA (2013)
    Activity Budgets and Energy Expenditure among Hunter-Gatherer Children: Results from the Hadza of Tanzania (NIH IDeA Fellowship)
  • Kara Osborne, BA (2013)
    Evolution of the Human Diet: What We Can Learn from Hadza Hunter-Gatherers (McNair Fellowship)
  • Diane Hardgrave, PhD (2010)
    The effects of Cellular Theta Breathing Meditation on Cell Mediated Immune Response: A Controlled, Randomized Investigation of Altered Consciousness and Health
  • Allison Cantor, MA (2010)
    Impacts on Maternal Diet in a Transitional Community in Rural Costa Rica: Potential Implications for the Developmental Origins of Obesity-related Disorders
  • Julie Kachinski , MA (2010)
    Use of an Animal Model to Explore Prenatal Predictors of Insulin and Glucose Metabolism in Southwestern Alaskan Yupiit
  • Lauren Emes BA (2008)
    The Effect of Diabetina Tea Consumption on Glycosylated Hemoglobin, Fasting Glucose and Lipid Levels, and BMI in Normoglycemic Individuals (NSF EPSCoR Project)
  • Anel Rojas BA (2008)
    Honors Thesis: The ‘Young Hunter Hypothesis’: An Anthropological Cross Cultural Assessment
  • Luz Andrea Pfister, MA (2006)
    Paleoepidemiology of Bacterial Infections among Prehistoric Human Populations in Northern Chile: an Ancient DNA Approach
  • Karmen Boelke BA (2004)
    Lower Carbohydrate / Higher Protein Eating Plans: Possible Effects on Psychological and Emotional States (McNair Fellowship)