Explore the complex relationships between people, pathogens, and our evolutionary past in the first MOOC on evolutionary medicine.
Have you ever wondered why we often develop a fever when we get sick? Or a cough? Why do we get cancer? Or the flu? Or allergies? Why do our bodies succumb to disease at all? In this class, we’ll answer these questions by taking a step back in time to consider how our evolutionary past has shaped our health in the present. Evolutionary medicine integrates an evolutionary biology and anthropology lens with current medical knowledge to enhance our understanding of human health. This class uses topics such as development and aging, human migration, mortality, diseases (infectious, metabolic, and autoimmune), and physiological and behavioral mechanisms of immunity to explore the broad arena of human health within a deep time and global context. Using this perspective, we will investigate how human populations have co-evolved with microbes for millennia, how our changing environments intersect with our genes to shape phenotypes, how culture and other social factors may influence disease risk, and how to address current emerging health challenges across the globe. Skills-based course answers : Taught by faculty in the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine, this course will prepare students to use evolutionary medicine as a foundation for approaching problems within professional arenas such as medicine, public health, and global health policymaking. Additionally, students can use this course as a skill bridge to other classes related to the applied health sciences.