ISEMPH 2021 – online meeting

I’m on the programme for the excellent International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health‘s annual meeting again this year. As usual, I expect the conference will be superb. However, things will be a little different this year, as the whole event will be virtual:

Although I understand that many people are suffering from “Zoom fatigue”, an online conference offers a number of fresh advantages. It becomes easier for people from all over the world to participate without time, cost, or carbon footprint concerns becoming barriers. We can be innovative about our scheduling too. Having some pre-recorded talks and posters available in advance of the conference will mean more time to interact with each other on the day. More interaction can mean more ideas, more fun, and more potential for collaboration. Another advantage of having some pre-recorded talks: you can pause, rewind, and watch again! No more wondering if you’re asking a silly question because you didn’t quite hear something that was said earlier on in the talk. Equally, if the topic of the talk isn’t quite as you expected, you can stop watching without fear of disrupting others in the audience. This year’s meeting will enjoy all these advantages, plus some of the buzz of a live event with some live talks and Q&A sessions.

To really boost the interactivity of the conference, we’ll also be running our first ever Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health Grand Challenges! Conference delegates can sign up to work in virtual teams to address the big questions and challenges facing medicine and public health today, with topics ranging from ageing to tuberculosis. The aim of these events is to encourage new connections and collaborations, and to spark innovation in the EMPH community. Check out the ISEMPH-2021 website for further details:

Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona.
Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona

New maps: Cross-country relationships between life expectancy, intertemporal choice and age at first birth

In one of my previous posts, I presented some interactive maps, made using Google Fusion Tables, to support a paper on Cross-country relationships between life expectancy, intertemporal choice and age at first birth, written with my collaborator, Adam Bulley. However, Google have since … Continue reading

Highlights from the first meeting of the International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health

I recently enjoyed the privilege of speaking at the inaugural meeting of the International Society of Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health. The event included a spread of fascinating talks on topics from trade-offs in cancer susceptibility to the evolution of sleep. I have highlighted a few of the talks here, but there were lots more excellent talks and some of the videos can be found on Vimeo (others should be available soon).

I highly recommend joining the society: more information at

“What is a Disease?” by Ruslav Medzhitov, Yale University


“Shining evolutionary light on human sleep and sleep disorders” by Charles Nunn, Duke University


“The perils of plasticity” by Randolph Nesse, Arizona State University

Videos: Why should medics care about evolution?

A friend of mine, the wonderful Thomas Carpenter, is currently studying medicine at Edinburgh University. He is part of a group of medical students with an interest in evloution, who are calling themselves the Evolutionary Medics.

The Evolutionary Medics recently ran an event, which was entitled “Bringing Darwin back to Edinburgh: wine, cheese and evolutionary medicine.” The excellent presentations are now available to view on YouTube and I wanted to promote them here:

Dr Sam Brown – Can we make evolution proof drugs?

Prof Gillian Bentley – The Clinical Significance of Evolutionary Medicine