Zaneta M. Thayer

|Associate Professor
Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Anthropology

I am a biological anthropologist interested in understanding how (biological mechanisms) and why (evolutionary origins) environmental experiences shape patterns of human biology and health. One important application of this interest is understanding how social inequalities create health inequalities. As such, my research has focused on evaluating how factors such as poverty, racism, and historical trauma affect health. 

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Silsby, Room 406A
HB 6047




  • Ph. D. Northwestern University
  • A.B. Dartmouth College

Selected Publications

  • 2020 Gildner, T. and Thayer, Z. "Maternal and child health during the COVID‐19 pandemic: Contributions in the field of human biology." American Journal of Human Biology doi:10.1002/ajhb.23494

  • 2020 Thayer, Z., Rutherford, J., & Kuzawa, C. The Maternal Nutritional Buffering Model: An evolutionary framework for pregnancy nutritional intervention. Evolution,
    Medicine, and Public Health (1), 14–27. doi:

  • 2019 Running Bear, U., Thayer, Z., Croy, C., Kaufman, C., & Manson, S. The impact of individual and parental American Indian boarding school attendance on chronic physical
    health of Northern Plains Tribes. Family & Community Health, 42(1), 1–7. doi: 10.1097/fch.0000000000000205

  • 2019 Conching, A and Z. Thayer. "Biological pathways for historical trauma to affect health: a conceptual model focusing on epigenetic modifications." Social Science & Medicine, 230:74-82.

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