I am a biological anthropologist interested in human evolutionary immunology. My primary research interest is to study the potential role of past pathogenic experiences (i.e.: Black Death) in shaping the immune responses in human populations. Since 2007, I am studying and analyzing the differential expression of immune proteins (cytokines) in human populations, and establishing the potential usefulness of these proteins as markers for future studies of health and human evolutionary history significance. We can expect that protective immune alleles and proteins will show an increased frequency still after the epidemic event is declined or eliminated, and this should be understood as a legacy of that epidemic event. Moreover, we can suggest that if there was an “immunological storm” involved in the immune response during the epidemic event, today’s populations (descendants of those populations exposed to the long lasting pathogenic insult) will still reflect a strong inflammatory response, and one potential consequence (“legacy”) of that is an over-expression of autoimmune and/or chronic inflammatory diseases. Currently, my research agenda deals with an interdisciplinary approach between experimental immunology and bioarchaeological data.
I am looking forward to participating in and following this network that will give me the great opportunity to gain a better and more holistic understanding of the Black Death pandemic.