• Amy M. Boddy

    University of California, Santa Barbara

  • news

    University of California Santa Barbara July 2017!

    I have accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Integrative Anthropological Sciences at UCSB.

    Check back soon - I will be recruiting a postdoc and graduate students.

    Primate Brain Size & Comparative Genomics

    Tests for positive selection in large-brained primates

    New paper out in Genome Biology and Evolution w/ Stephen MontgomeryPeter W Harrison, et al. Including a newly sequenced brain transcriptome of the capuchin monkey (Cebus apella).

    Cancer Comparative Genomics

    How has evolution solved the problem of cancer suppression?

    See our new review on what we currently know and do not know about cancer suppressor mechanisms in animals w/ Marc Tollis and Josh Schiffman.

    Contextual Organismality

    Check out new paper in Evolution

    What is an organism? Here we propose the concept of contextual organismality w/ Sam Díaz-Muñoz, Chris Waters, Gautam Dantas, and Judie Bronstein.

    When (distant) relatives stay to long

    See our new research highlight in Genome Biology

  • research

    My research focuses broadly on evolutionary applications to human health and disease. My work is motivated by fundamental questions in life history theory. I use a combination of genomics, computational biology and evolutionary theory to help understand trade-offs between survival and reproduction across different levels of biological organization, from molecules to organisms and everything in between.

    Fetal Microchimerism

    An evolutionary perspective on maternal health and disease

    Previous literature paints a paradoxical picture on fetal cell’s influence on the maternal body. Our recent review on fetal microchimerism and maternal health/disease proposes numerous predictions on why we see this paradoxical effect. Through an evolutionary lens, the ecological context (each mothers body) is important for determining whether fetal cells may contribute to maternal health or disease. Drawing from this theory, we can now design more informed hypothesis driven experiments to explicitly test functional, regulatory and genetic dynamics of maternal-fetal interactions.

    Cellular Trade-offs

    Trade-offs between cellular proliferation and survival in cancer progression and treatment

    Can organismal life history theory can be applied at the cellular level? Are there distinct cellular populations that invest in proliferation, at the expense of survival? I am using life history theory, agent-based modeling and genomic techniques to 1) help understand why we see this diversity of phenotypes in cancer, 2) provide a new perspective in treatment design and 3) understand the molecular processes underpinning cellular trade-offs.

    Trade-offs in Cancer Defense

    Exploring the diversity in cancer susceptibility

    Cancer suppression is a major component of somatic maintenance, including DNA repair, cell cycle control and immune function. There is likely trade-offs between growth, reproduction and cancer defenses. My research aims to 1) understand the trade-offs between reproduction and cancer defenses and 2) uncover the molecular drivers facilitating this diversity in cancer susceptibility.

    Molecular Evolution and Transcriptomics

    Using comparative genomics to examine patterns of parallel evolution

    Brain expansion is a key characteristic of primate and human evolution. Uncovering the molecular basis of human brain evolution may identify ways in which our own species is unique. Whether adaptations governing brain expansion are shared across primates or have a species-specific origin is unclear. To provide insight into pathways and processes important in brain size evolution, we are analyzing patterns of molecular evolution across independent episodes of brain size increase during anthropoid primate evolution.

  • publications

    Please visit my Google Scholar page for a full list of my publications. 

    Contact me at amyboddy@gmail.com for prints. 

  • media

    Fetal microchimerism covered in the New York Times

    By Carl Zimmer

    Fetal microchimerism covered on NatGeo

    By Ed Yong

    Fetal microchimerism covered on NPR

    on Morning Edition

    Fetal microchimerism covered in the Smithsonian

    By Viviane Callier

    Cancer across life covered in the New York Times

    By George Johnson

    Cancer across life & Folsom Prison Blues

    By Tom @ Science x Rhymes

  • videos

    Cooperation & conflict in maternal health

    ASU Cooperation & Conflict Symposium

    See Dr. Boddy present work on microchimerism and maternal-fetal conflict

    Super Chimera

    Check out the video abstract for our microchimerism review in BioEssays

    Are there trade-offs in cancer defense?

    Video of Dr. Boddy's ISEMPH 2015 presentation

    See Dr. Boddy present her work on why some species may vary in cancer defense mechanisms.

  • about

    Amy M. Boddy


    Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Wayne State University - School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

  • contact