J.F. Brinkworth, PhD.
Principal Investigator

Evolution of immune function, variation in infectious and chronic disease, severe infection, primate health, evolutionary medicine, sustainability.

Grace Shaw, MSc.
PhD Student, Biological Anthropology

Research interests include the effects of physical and psychological stress on epigenetic regulation of immune function during severe infections. Labor-health embodiment. Sepsis, COVID-19, public health.

Abby Long
PhD Student, Biological Anthropology




Brett Stallone-Dwyer
PhD student, Biological Anthropology
Epigenetics underlying immunological responses to complex trauma, PTSD, and other mental health disorders.

Natasha Mazumdar 
PhD student, Biological Anthropology 

Interests: role of neural reward in physical activity, Toxoplasma gondii, evolution of human endurance running 

Allison Westenbrau
Lab technician
B.A. in Biological Anthropology

Allison is a primary contributor to the neutrophil and plague projects, and has a background in horse care and wine tasting.


Sana Saboowala
PhD student PEEC, lab affiliate 

I take a mixed methods approach to understanding how lived
experiences impact the body. My interests include epigenetics, feminist
science and technology studies, oral history, and anticolonial science.
My personal website and blog with study tips for undergraduates can be found here:

Rachel Rusen
PhD Student Entomology, lab affiliate

I am a PhD student from Toronto, Canada. As a primatologist, I have done extensive fieldwork in Peru looking at the density of South American monkeys around a remote scientific field site. I also spent a year in Uganda studying the behaviour of habituated chimpanzees and collecting insects and fecal samples from primates and livestock.

Negin Valizadegan, PhD Anthropology
Research Specialist in the LifeSciences           HPC-Bio, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign lab affiliate 

My research is on the link between blood microbiome and immune system response to LPS-mediated sepsis and other infectious diseases in human and non-human primates. I am interested in host-microbiome interactions and bioinformatics analysis of NGS data. Check out my website here.

Kamile Aleksaite
Biomaterial Engineering


Katy Simmons
Integrative Biology

Mia Salerno
Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Emilia Gibes
NorthWestern University PREP

I am interested in the field of epidemiology in the context of computational biology. I hope to pursue a career in public health or biotech and work towards reducing health disparities from a variety of perspectives. 

Alumna/Alumni of the lab

  • Jingchen Li
  • Will Widdick
  • Demetri Marmoutsos
  • Minkyu Woo
  • Nicole Mittelsteadt
  • Analisa Soare
  • Yaravi Suárez Cedeño
  • Sharajonnie Adams
  • Bianca Biages
  • Harsha Namburi
  • Keaton McClure
  • Sarthak Prasad
  • Tricia Avent
  • Kalina Brzostowski
  • Rithik Prakash
  • Vijeth Narra
  • Heather Hicks
  • Alexander Alvarado
  • Priya Bhatt
  • Nicole Mischak 
  • Sofia Rivera
  • Joey Callahan
  • Jocelyn Rubi
  • Lily Velez
  • Kyle Boshardy
  • Haley Fuocco