2019-2020 lab members

Nutrition and Reproduction Lab

The Nutrition and Reproduction Lab, under the direction of Daniel Benyshek and Alyssa Crittenden, explores multiple aspects of maternal and infant health and nutrition.

Lab members 2019-2020 (from Left to Right): Jacob White, Kristen Herlosky, Trevor Pollom, Alyssa Crittenden, Daniel Benyshek, Spencer Holmes, Kayleigh Meighan, and Stephanie Schnorr. Not pictured: Marlena Gatlin and Sharon Young.

Our Lab In The News

UNLV media coverage of our lab

Current Lab Members

Daniel C. Benyshek

Co-Director of Lab

Daniel C. Benyshek
Office: WRI-A 120
Phone: 702-895-2070
Fax: 702-895-4823

Alyssa Crittenden

Co-Director of Lab

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Office: WRI-A 106
Phone: 702-895-3709
Fax: 702-895-4823

Stephanie Schnorr

Postdoctoral Fellow

Stephanie Schnorr

Kayleigh A. Meighan

Ph.D. Student

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Jacob White

Ph.D. Student

Jacob White

Kristen Herlosky

Ph.D. Student

A woman smiling

Trevor Pollom

Ph.D. Student

Trevor Pollom

Marlena Gatlin

Undergraduate Intern
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Spencer Holmes

Undergraduate Intern

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Sharon Young

Research Associate

Sharon Young

Current Research Projects

Cardiometabolic Health

  • 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.

Child foraging, mobility, and health

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 during the summer field season, 2017

  • 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

Diet composition and dental anthropology

  • Measurement of diet composition data – before and during nutrition transition
    • Measured and weighed food returning to camp
    • Estimated food being consumed in and out of camp
    • 24-hour dietary recalls
  • Oral health analysis to determine frequency of periodontal disease, caries, orthodontic disorders, and linear enamel hypoplasias (in collaboration with the Ungar Lab at the University of Arkansas)
  • Microwear abrasions to determine seasonal patterns of dental microwear feature turnover rate based on differences in diet composition (in collaboration with the Ungar Lab at the University of Arkansas)
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

  • 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.
Lab

Daniel Benyshek and Sharon Young readying to prepare a human placenta for laboratory analysis.

Maternal and infant health patterns

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

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

  • Ethnography of labor and delivery
  • Postpartum health, including assessments of social network and new challenges facing young mothers as the Hadza transition to more hospital assisted births
  • Patterns of co-sleeping - including measurement of sleep quality while breastfeeding (part of a larger project mapping sleep architecture among the Hadza in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toronto and Duke University)

Laboratory Alumni

  • Roger Arenas, PhD (2019)
    Virtually healthy: Using Virtual Ethnography to Survey Healthcare Seeking Practices of Online Transgender Individuals
  • 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
  • Laura Gryder, MA (2015)
    Effects of Human Maternal Placentophagy on Maternal Postpartum Iron Status
  • Kilian Wells, BA (2013)
    Activity Budgets and Energy Expenditure among Hunter-Gatherer Children: Results from the Hadza of Tanzania (NIH IDeA Felloship)
  • 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
  • Luz Andrea Pfister, MA (2006)
    Paleoepidemiology of Bacterial Infections among Prehistoric Human Populations in Northern Chile: an Ancient DNA Approach