Zaneta M. Thayer

Assistant Professor

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, trauma, and ethnic discrimination affect health. 

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My overall research goal is to contribute findings of interest to both evolutionary anthropologists and public health professionals. I am strongly motivated to increase public understanding of evolution, developmental plasticity, and how the social construction of race can shape patterns of biological difference. 

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Curriculum Vitae
406A Silsby
Ph. D. Northwestern University
A.B. Dartmouth College

Selected Publications

2017 Fox, M., Thayer., Z., and P. Wadhwa. “Acculturation and health: the moderating role of socio-cultural context" American Anthropologist 119(3): 405-421.

2017 Thayer, Z., Barbosa-Leiker, C., McDonell, M., Nelson, L., Buchwald, D., and S. Manson. “Early life stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and allostatic load in a sample of American Indian adults” American Journal of Human Biology 29(3): e22943

2017 Thayer, Z., Blair, I., Buchwald, D., and S. Manson. “Racial discrimination associated with higher diastolic blood pressure in a sample of American Indian adults.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology: 163(1): 122-128.

2017 Wilson, M. and Z. Thayer. “Maternal Salivary Cortisone to Cortisol Ratio in Late Pregnancy: a Better Predictor of Offspring Birth Weight than Cortisol.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 78: 10-13.

2017 Fox, M., Thayer, Z., and P. Wadhwa. “Conceptualization and operationalization of the construct of acculturation in minority health research. Social Science & Medicine 176: 123-132.

2017 Thayer, Z. “Dark shadow of the long white cloud: Neighborhood quality and health in Aotearoa/New Zealand.” Social Science & Medicine – Population Health 3: 75-80.

2015    Thayer, Z. and A. Non. “Anthropology meets epigenetics: Current and future directions.” American Anthropologist 117(4): 722-735.

2015    Non, A and Thayer, Z. “Epigenetics for anthropologists: An introduction to methods.” American Journal of Human Biology 27(3): 295-303.

2015    Thayer, Z and C. Kuzawa. “Ethnic Discrimination Predicts Poor Self Rated Health and Cortisol in Pregnancy: Insights from New Zealand.” Social Science & Medicine 128: 36-42.

2014    Thayer, Z. and C. Kuzawa. "Intergenerational effects of maternal experience: Influence of SES on maternal and offspring stress physiology in New Zealand." American Journal of Human Biology 26(6): 723-730.

2014    Lee, J., Fried, R, Thayer, Z., and C. Kuzawa. "Preterm delivery as a predictor of diurnal cortisol profiles in adulthood: Evidence from Cebu, Philippines." American Journal of Human Biology 26(5): 598-602.

2014    Thayer, Z. “The vitamin D hypothesis revisited: Differences in UV exposure do not explain disparities in birth outcomes within the United States” American Journal of Epidemiology 179(8): 947-955.

2013     Kuzawa, C. and Z. Thayer. “Toppling typologies: Developmental plasticity and the environmental origins of human biological variation.” Rethinking Race and Science: Biology, Genes and Culture School of Advanced                Research Press: 43-56.

2012    Thayer, Z., Ferranil, A., and C. Kuzawa. “Maternal cortisol disproportionately impacts fetal growth in male offspring: Evidence from the Philippines.” American Journal of Human Biology 24: 1-4.

2011    Thayer, Z. and C. Kuzawa. “The biology of embodiment: epigenetic pathways to     health disparities” Epigenetics 6(7):798-803.      

2011    Kuzawa, C and Z. Thayer. “The Timescales of Human Adaptation: the Role of Epigenetic Processes and Policy Implications.” Epigenomics, 3(2): 221-234.


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