The Anthropology Department's Sleep Lab, directed by Professor Helen Ball, is home to a team of researchers who investigate the behaviour and physiology of infant, child and adult sleep, night-time parenting, infant feeding, and other infant and child health issues. Using biocultural and evolutionary perspectives we investigate sleep issues in the lab, hospital, community and home environments. The sleep lab houses integrated state of the art video and physiology monitoring equipment and was refurbished and upgraded in 2010. We enthusiastically involve students of all levels in our projects, from undergraduates to PhD, and over the past 10 years have provided research opportunities for over 80 volunteers, interns, and research associates. Find out more about the research-life of the Sleep Lab.
Physical Activity Lab
Directed by Dr Tessa Pollard
This holds equipment for monitoring physical activity in people going about their everyday lives, including accelerometers and GPS devices. Sedentary lifestyles pose one of the key threats to health in many populations and our research focuses on understanding how and why activity levels differ across different groups. Current research uses mixed quantitative and qualitative methods and focuses on activity in migrant populations in the UK and in hunter-gatherers in Africa.
Durham Ecology and Endocrinology Laboratory (DEEL)
Directed by Professor Gillian Bentley
This lab was set up in 2009 to measure biological markers in human samples in relation to health/disease, population well being, human behaviour and/or environment. We do this using human saliva, blood, or urine samples. Hormones of particular interest to us include (cortisol, testosterone, progesterone, oestradiol, and DHEAS). We also assess levels of immunity markers (C-reactive protein) in saliva. Our purpose built facility includes fridge and freezer storage and is fully equipped to process samples and perform enzyme linked immuno-absorbent (ELISA) assays. Students from all degree-levels (undergraduate and postgraduate) have been working on various projects in the lab. Find out more about the Durham Ecology and Endocrinology Laboratory.
This is a teaching laboratory in Biological Anthropology and houses one of the best collections of fossil hominin cast material in the country, comprising an extensive collection of hominin casts as well as human and non-human primate skeletal material, with an emphasis on skulls (approximately 70 non-human primate examples and 25 human skulls, some with associated postcrania). This material may be suitable for research purposes depending on the project. Linear measurements as well as 3D data capture is possible under supervision, and digital callipers, scanning equipment and digitizers can also be made available. Students are encouraged to talk to Dr Kris Fire Kovarovic and Dr Una Strand Vidarsdottir as early as possible to explore the possibility of developing a palaeoanthropological or morphometric project linked to these collections.
Modern DNA Laboratory
This is housed in a newly refurbished and purpose built facility consisting of several clean rooms. The labs contain centrifuges, PCR machines, extraction hoods, and several refrigerators and freezers allowing up to four people to work simultaneously. Shared with Archaeology, the laboratory focuses on the analysis of non-human DNA.
This is one of the best shape analysis laboratories in the country, providing data collecting and analytical facilities for all aspects of morphometric research. Equipment includes 3D digitisers, scanners and microscopes, as well as the computers needed for 2D data acquisition and analysis of both 2D and 3D data. The laboratory also houses the analytical facilities for the DNA laboratory.
The Anthropology Department has a large collection of material culture objects from around the world, as well as substantial collection of fossil casts and bones. It also boasts an extensive collection video/film and documentary footage. Each of these collections is an important learning resource and through virtual technologies items are available outside of lecture and practical sessions enabling students to study at times and places of their own choosing.
Our Collection of ethnographic objects is a museum registered (DURAN) collection with online database access. Our collection is the only one in the North East which is still actively acquiring objects. The online collect has been used by a number of courses as well as by students and staff for research. It is a rational database/catalogue of 2000 artefacts on which are recorded: accession number, description, material, continent, country, dimensions and photograph.
Red is the Colour of Success
Want to know the hidden impact colour has on your life? Dr Russell Hill appeared on the BBC2 programme Horizion to explain the amazing effects of the colour red.
Modern Muslims Use Dream to Make Major Life Decisions
Dr Iain Edgar's research showed "Dream interpretation in Islam is a spiritual way of divining the future and submitting oneself to the personal unconscious and the will of Allah".
Monkeys Choose Mating Partners with Different Genes
This research led by Dr Jo Setchell supports the disputed theory that humans are attracted to those with a dissimilar genetic make up to maintain genetic diversity.