uo bar

Dr. Josh Snodgrass -- Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring

Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring
I am dedicated to teaching and enjoy the opportunity to engage students with a range of abilities, interests, and life experiences. In all my classes I emphasize integration across the subfields of anthropology and bridging between anthropology and other disciplines such as biology, epidemiology, human physiology, and nutritional sciences. I also emphasize the connections between classroom learning and present day issues in all of my courses. I believe in challenging students with complex and controversial ideas and strive to create a safe and respectful classroom, while giving students the tools with which to grapple with these issues.

Undergraduate Research Supervision
In addition to my regular courses and annual FIG class (Paging Dr. Darwin), I work closely with undergraduates in several different capacities. I direct a research laboratory (The Human Biology Research Lab), which
focuses on the development and application of minimally invasive techniques (e.g., dried blood spots and saliva) for assessing health and physiology in population-based research, and creates research opportunities for undergraduates.

I also work closely with several students each year on original research projects, including through the Clark Honors College. In the last several years, I've advised a number of Honors College students including:
  • Eryn Block (graduated 2012): "When reaching for the stars isn't enough: Possible reasons for and solutions to the post-secondary expectation-preparation misalignment in low-socioeconomic status high school students" (Eryn graduated as one of the Oregon 6)
  • Alison Widmer (graduated 2012): "Cultural and evolutionary origins of Alzheimer's Disease"
  • Kathryn Schweber (graduated 2013): "Health effects of social change among the indigenous Yakut (Sakha) of Siberia: The influence of chronic psychosocial stress on Epstein-Barr virus antibodies, C-reactive protein, and blood pressure"
  • Sierra Thompson (graduated 2013): "Diet, market integration, and chronic inflammation among an indigenous Amazonian Ecuadorian population"
I also work closely with a number of students who are not part of the Clark Honors College. In the past few years, these students have done original research that they have presented at national conferences. These include:
  • Heather Shattuck-Faegre (graduated 2010): "The Shuar Health and Life History Project: Immune pathways and Epstein-Barr virus" presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the Human Biology Association in Minneapolis, MN (with co-authors Julia Ridgeway-Diaz, Aaron Blackwell, Felicia Madimenos, Melissa Liebert, Erica Squires, Larry Sugiyama, and Josh Snodgrass. Heather is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.
  • Liz Streeter (graduated 2013): Liz worked in my lab for two years and presented the results of her research at two national conferences--the 2012 and 2013 annual meeting of the Human Biology Association (in Portland and Knoxville, respectively). The papers were: 1) "The Indigenous Siberian Health and Adaptation Project: Adiponectin, body composition, and cardiovascular health among the Yakut (Sakha) of Siberia" (2012, with coauthors Erica Squires, Bill Leonard, Larissa Tarskaia, Tatiana Klimova, Valentina Fedorova, Marina Baltakhinova, Vadim Krivoshapkin, and Josh Snodgrass) and 2) "The Indigenous Siberian Health and Adaptation Project: Tissue hypoxia, adiponectin dysregulation, and hemoglobin levels among the Yakut (Sakha) of Siberia" (2013, with coauthors Erica Squires, Bill Leonard, Larissa Tarskaia, Tatiana Klimova, Valentina Fedorova, Marina Baltakhinova, Vadim Krivoshapkin, and Josh Snodgrass).
  • Lauren Hawkins (graduated 2012): "The Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE): Socioeconomic status, urban-rural differences, and sleep in older adults from five middle income countries" presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the Human Biology Association in Knoxville, TN (with Josh Snodgrass, Theresa Gildner, Melissa Liebert, Paul Kowal, and Somnath Chatterji).
  • Vimal Balu (current student): "The Indigenous Siberian Health and Adaptation Project: Seasonal variation in autoimmune thyroid disorders among the Yakut (Sakha) of Siberia" presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the Human Biology Association in Knoxville, TN (with coauthors Tara Cepon, Stephanie Levy, Bill Leonard, Larissa Tarskaia, Tatiana Klimova, Valentina Fedorova, Marina Baltakhinova, Vadim Krivoshapkin, and Josh Snodgrass).
Williams Fellowship
I was recently named as a Williams Fellow in recognition of distinguished undergraduate teaching at the University of Oregon. The Williams Fellowship includes two awards:
A $5000 award that goes toward my teaching and collaborative research with undergraduates, and a second $5000 award to “affect tangibly the teaching and learning experience of undergraduates at the departmental level.”

My goal with the Williams Fellowship is to advance undergraduate research by: 1) increasing information and mentoring available to undergraduates related to research opportunities; 2) creating opportunities for undergraduates to conduct original research; and 3) providing funds for undergraduates to present the results of their original research at national or international conferences. In addition to providing research and conference travel support for my undergraduate advisees, I used the Williams Fellowship funds along with a matching contribution from anthropology to start two programs in Fall 2012:
  • Undergraduate Research and Conference Travel Award Program. The program provides $2000 each year for at least four years to support anthropology majors and minors.
  • Undergraduate-Graduate Research Mentorship Program. The goal of the program is to provide information and mentoring to undergraduates on research opportunities at the UO and more generally about conducting original research in anthropology and related fields. The program also provides advice and information about applying into graduate and professional school. In 2012-2013, the three graduate student mentors are Rory Walsh (Archaeology), Andrea Eller (Biological Anthropology), and Iván Sandoval-Cervantes (Cultural Anthropology). The graduate students hold at least one meeting per term and also make themselves available to undergraduates throughout the year to provide advice and mentoring, as appropriate, on a one-on-one or group basis.
Campus Leadership on Undergraduate Education
I am currently on the advisory boards of First-Year Programs and the College Scholars Program.

Finally, I am
currently the Chair of the University of Oregon's Undergraduate Council. Check out the Council's website for information on our charge, the issues we are currently working on, and our membership.


Anth 175: Evolutionary Medicine (
Anth 199: Paging Dr. Darwin (Freshman Interest Group College Connections Course) (Syllabus)
Anth 270: Introduction to Biological Anthropology (Syllabus)
Anth 362: Human Biological Variation (
Anth 369: Human Growth & Development (
Anth 468/568: Evolutionary Theory (
Anth 487/587: Bioanthropology Methods (Syllabus)
Anth 610: Current Topics in Biological Anthropology (Syllabus)

2013-2014 Teaching Schedule

Fall 2013
Anth 175: Evolutionary Medicine
Anth 199: Paging Dr. Darwin FIG
Anth 199: Students Without Borders FIG (Dr. Jeff Measelle [Psychology] is the primary instructor)

Winter 2014
Research Term--No Teaching

Spring 2014
Anth 175: Honors Version of Evolutionary Medicine for the College Scholars Program
Anth 362: Human Biological Variation

Course Descriptions
Application of evolutionary thinking to the study of human health and disease. This course provides an introduction
to evolutionary (or Darwinian) medicine, a relatively new field that recognizes that evolutionary processes and human evolutionary history shape health among contemporary human populations. The field of evolutionary medicine
emphasizes ultimate explanations, such as how natural selection and other evolutionary forces shape our susceptibility
to disease; this perspective complements that of biomedicine, which generally focuses on identifying the immediate mechanisms that give rise to diseases and malfunctions. The evolutionary medicine approach has provided insights
into why diseases occur at all and additionally has produced valuable insights on treatment strategies. This course will examine a variety of diseases using an evolutionary perspective, including infectious diseases, mental disorders, and cancers. The course will emphasize chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, and will
focus particular attention on the role of diet and psychosocial stress in the development and progression of these conditions.
Last taught: Fall 2012
Next taught: Fall 2013

This FIG is a redesigned version of a FIG course (Footprints We Leave) that I taught for five years. The new FIG--Paging Dr. Darwin--introduces the field of evolutionary (or Darwinian) medicine, which emphasizes how evolutionary processes and human evolutionary history shape our susceptibility to disease. The college connections course links two courses (Evolutionary Medicine [ANTH 175] & Introduction to Human Physiology [BI 121]) that approach human biology and health from complementary perspectives. In addition to their shared focus on the fundamental structure and function of the human body, these courses will show you how an evolutionary approach can illuminate the role the environment plays in shaping human biology, behavior, and health. One of the principal goals of this FIG is to make these connections explicit and to focus on the overarching principles that link the subject matter in these two courses. A second goal of this FIG is to help you develop the skills and identify the resources you need to thrive academically and personally at the U of O.
Last taught: Fall 2012
Next taught: Fall 2013

fall convocation 2009
At UO's Fall Convocation with a student from my Footprints We Leave FIG

This course examines the biological aspects of the human species from comparative and evolutionary perspectives.
It is designed to be a comprehensive introduction to biological, or physical, anthropology. In brief, biological
anthropology is the study of human biology within the framework of evolution. As one of the four subdisciplines of anthropology, biological anthropology is a critical component in the education of all students in the discipline. In this course, we will investigate human biology through the study of genetics, population biology, and the principles of
evolution. Since the comparative method is a key method in biological anthropology and other sciences, we will
review the evolution, ecology, and behavior of the living non-human primates. We will also evaluate the evolution of human adaptability and investigate the various ways in which the human species has adapted -- and is continuing to
adapt – to habitats around the world. Finally, we shall examine the fossil record of the evolution of the human lineage. After participating in this course, students will have an appreciation of key theoretical and methodological issues in
this anthropological subdiscipline, and will be prepared to enter upper-level courses in biological anthropology.
Last taught: Fall 2011
Next taught: TBA

Genetic and biological structure of human populations; population dynamics and causes of diversity; analysis
of genetically differentiated human populations and their geographic distribution. This course will examine genetic
and phenotypic variation in contemporary human populations. We use an evolutionary biocultural framework to
understand how adaptation to various ecological stressors (e.g., temperature, solar radiation, altitude, and nutrition) promotes human biological diversity. In addition, we will discuss how recent cultural changes (e.g., agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization) shape human variation and health, with an emphasis on chronic diseases such
as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Last taught: Winter 2013
Next taught: Spring 2014

Examines key issues in human and nonhuman primate growth and development; addresses genetic, social, and
ecological determinants of variation in growth. This course provides an overview of key issues in human growth and development, from conception through adulthood. Specifically, this course views human growth and development as
a biocultural process that demands an integrated analysis. Throughout the class, we will draw upon findings and
concepts from human biology, evolutionary ecology, developmental biology, and cultural anthropology. Issues to be addressed in this course include: 1) the basic principles of human growth and development; 2) comparative
 evolutionary perspectives on human growth, incorporating studies of living primates and fossil human ancestors;
3) techniques for assessing human growth status; and 4) genetic, social, and ecological determinants of variation
in growth. After constructing a conceptual framework, the course will follow the trajectory of human growth and
development from conception through adulthood. A series of case studies will be used to elaborate the relevant
biological, cultural, and social issues.
Last taught: Fall 2012
Next taught: Winter 2014 (by Melissa Liebert)

bioanthropology methods picture
Running a lab on cardiovascular health in my Bioanthropology
Methods course
(Anth 487/587), Spring term 2009

This course provides a theoretical framework in evolutionary biology with which to explore human evolutionary history
and aspects of modern human biology and behavior. After surveying the historical development of evolutionary theory
and the state of current knowledge regarding mechanisms of evolutionary change, we turn our attention to patterns
and processes in human evolution. Issues to be addressed in this course include the evolution of primate life histories,
the origin of modern human biological variation, and evolutionary medicine.
Last taught: Spring 2008 (by Dr. Snodgrass); Winter 2012 (by Dr. Kirstin Sterner)
Next taught: TBA

A laboratory-based introduction to research methods in biological anthropology. This course provides an overview of research methods used in biological anthropology, with an emphasis on research among living humans. The course
will introduce students to the process of research design, data analysis, and interpretation. The course will meet in
the Physical Anthropology Teaching Laboratory (368 Condon Hall), and individual class meetings will be split between discussions of various methods for assessing human biological functioning and hands-on application of laboratory techniques.
Last taught: Spring 2011
Next taught: TBA

This course serves as a core graduate requirement for biological anthropology students but may also be appropriate for other students in anthropology or other disciplines. The course introduces students to key issues in human evolutionary biology through an in-depth examination of current research and controversies in biological anthropology. The course emphasizes topics that cut across multiple areas of biological anthropology, and which require integration of datasets from paleoanthropology, human biology, primatology, anthropological genetics, and behavioral ecology.
Last taught: Spring 2012
Next taught: TBA

Back to Snodgrass' Homepage

This site is best viewed with Firefox or Safari.

Comments or questions?
Contact me.