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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Evolutionary Medicine Workshop

10th September 2007, 10:00 to 16:00, Insitute of Advanced Study, Cosin's Hall

This is an invited workshop with the aim of discussing how best to establish a Centre for Evolutionary Medicine at Durham University which will have links to other academic institutions in the northeast. Evolutionary Medicine is a relatively new inter-disciplinary field that began in the early 1990s that examines pathologies from an evolutionary or adaptive perspective in contrast to the more proximate or immediate perspective of clinical medicine that focuses on prevention and cures. For example, viruses and bacterial infections are considered in the light of a long-standing evolutionary arms race between host and pathogen, the ills of senescence are viewed against various adaptive explanations for why sexually reproducing organisms age and die, and the adaptive responses of the body to trauma are examined against the potentially harmful effects of emergency medical interventions.

The Centre is envisioned to consist of both a research and teaching arm, with scholars engaged in relevant evolutionary and health research being affiliated to the Centre and meeting periodically to discuss ideas and agendas. The teaching arm will begin with the establishment of a Master’s programme in Evolutionary Medicine in 2008 based in Anthropology and the School for Health at Durham where some pre-existing courses can supply part of the curriculum.

Participants include: Professor Helen Ball (Durham University), Dr Robert Barton (Durham University), Professor Gillian Bentley (Durham University), Dr. Paul Denny (Durham University), Dr Sarah Elton (York University), Dr Tessa Pollard (Durham University), Dr Daniel Nettle (Newcastle University), Professor Charlotte Roberts (Durham University), Dr Joanna Setchell (Durham University), Dr Paul Yeo (Durham University).

The workshop is by invitation only. Please contact Professor Gillian Bentley for further information (

Contact for more information about this event.