Jes is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in Medical Anthropology broadly interested in the biological underpinnings of health disparities. Her dissertation research examines the biosocial embodiment of intergenerational trauma in Latin American migrants and their children. Jes draws on both ethnographic and quantitative methods to assess how trauma and social experience interact with biology. She hopes to engage her training as a physician-anthropologist aiming to better understand health outcomes for marginalized populations.
Rachel is a medical anthropology Ph.D. candidate focused on refugees, mental health, humanitarian action, and community-based health work. She is interested in forced migration to Europe and the provision of mental healthcare services to migrant populations, especially in the Netherlands and France. Her dissertation research examines how a current psychological intervention for Syrian refugees in Europe is made culturally relevant and how it is experienced by the community health workers implementing it and the refugees receiving care. Previous research includes fieldwork at an outpatient mental health clinic for migrants in Paris.
My research interests lie in the arena of global mental health, with a focus on post-conflict settings and the role of parenting (particularly of fathers) in mediating stress responses in children. I have conducted research in Haiti, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Currently I am involved in collecting data on DNA methylation as an indicator of emotion regulation among war-affected youth in Sierra Leone. The study is embedded within the research program directed by Dr. Theresa Betancourt on the intergenerational impact of war in the country, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Meaney of McGill University.
My research centers on aging and is at the intersection of anthropological examinations of kinship, resilience, and demography. I am specifically interested in understanding how rising socio-demographic challenges, such as mortality, urbanization, and mobility, are affecting the lives of older Africans and their family members, as well as society at large. I have conducted a wide range of research with older persons (60 years or over) across Eastern and Southern Africa since 2007.
My research examines the physiological costs of reproduction for women. My dissertation utilized oxidative stress biomarkers to investigate the mechanisms by which reproductive effort exerts long-term ‘wear-and-tear’ effects on women with high levels of physical activity. This project was conducted with post-menopausal women in rural and urban Poland. My doctoral thesis contends that increased lifetime reproductive effort accelerates women’s rates of senescence.
My research focuses on the mental health of humanitarian workers in South Sudan. I combine quantitative and qualitative research methods to establish prevalence and predictors of common mental health problems, and explore the lived experiences of humanitarian workers based in this particular crisis setting. In doing so I put a specific focus on the gender dimensions of mental health and the broader concept of well-being. Since 2015, I have undertaken a variety of research projects in South Sudan in collaboration with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.
My research investigates the effects of prenatal maternal stress on infant development. I am particularly interested in the intergenerational effects of maternal trauma exposure and mental health. My dissertation focuses, conducted in São Paulo, Brazil, on the role of hormonal and epigenetic mechanisms of prenatal stress in shaping the infant stress physiology and neurodevelopment. This project is in collaboration with researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of São Paulo. I have also collaborated on projects investigating the effects of a humanitarian intervention with Syrian refugees on biomarkers of stress, immune function, and immunity, and the effects of obesity on reproductive hormones in Samoan men.