As a biological anthropologist and archaeologist, I combine traditional methods of skeletal analysis and archaeological excavation with stable isotope analyses of human and animal bones to gain insights about past practices of food production, distribution, and consumption. I am particularly interested in how various food procurement systems have differentially impacted human health and relationships with the natural environment.
My research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Sigma Xi, an IGERT Fellowship, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the University of California. Some of my recent research has focused on reconstructing food production systems at the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan, reconstructing patterns of ancient Maya diet and residential mobility, and investigating health consequences of dietary change among modern horticultural communities of highland New Guinea. Currently my studies are focusing on the development of maize (corn) agriculture in the Tehuacan Valley of Puebla, Mexico.