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Evolutionary Medicine

Stephen C. Stearns and Ruslan Medzhitov

18 August 2015

ISBN: 9781605352602

306 pages

In Stock

Price: £94.99

Intended for use in undergraduate, graduate, and medical school courses, this text makes content readily accessible with professional illustrations and summaries of chapters. If you are a lecturer interested in adopting this title for your course, please contact your Oxford representative to arrange a local price.



Published by Sinauer Associates, an imprint of Oxford University Press.

This book is aimed at both students and professionals in medicine and public health. It discusses the evolution of patients and diseases, defenses and pathogens, cancer as an evolutionary process, vulnerabilities created by the evolution of reproduction, mismatch to modern environments, the evolution of mental disorders, and conflicts between the good of the individual patient and the welfare of the population.

  • The book includes many references to recent original research.
  • Short summaries encapsulate the content of both sections and chapters.

About the Author(s)

Stephen C. Stearns, Yale University, and Ruslan Medzhitov, Yale University

Stephen C. Stearns is the Edward P Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. A 1967 Yale graduate, he earned an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. He was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley prior to his first academic appointment at Reed College. In 1983, he assumed the directorship of the Zoology Institute at the University of Basel, Switzerland, returning to Yale in 2000. In addition to Evolutionary Medicine, his books include Evolution: An Introduction; Watching, from the Edge of Extinction (coauthored with his wife, Beverly Peterson Stearns); and The Evolution of Life Histories. A founder of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (and its journal) as well as the Tropical Biology Association, Dr. Stearns has served as President of both. In 2011 he received the Devane Medal for undergraduate teaching from the Yale chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Ruslan Medzhitov is the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. He is also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He obtained his B.A. (Biology) from Tashkent State University (1990) and Ph.D. (Biochemistry) from the Moscow State University (1993). Beginning his career as a visiting student at the University of California at San Diego, he became a Postdoctoral Associate with HHMI in January 1994, working at Yale University School of Medicine. With the late Charles A. Janeway, Jr. (with whom he worked as a postdoctoral fellow from 1994â€"1999), Dr. Medzhitov co-discovered and characterized mammalian Toll-like receptors, now recognized as integral to the innate immune system. Widely recognized for his research, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Table of Contents

    1:Introduction to Evolutionary Thinking
    2:What is a Patient?
    3:What is a Disease?
    5:Pathogen Evolution
    7:Reproductive Medicine
    9:Mental Disorders
    10:Individual Health versus Population Health
    11:Open Questions and Other Issues


"Stearns and Medzhitov provide a valuable, authoritative resource for students encountering evolutionary medicine for the first time. For biomedical scientists, medical students, and students of evolution, it is a valuable introduction to an important emerging field." - John D. Nagy, BioScience

"This book is a gem of a textbook about the principles of evolutionary thinking and the relevance of evolutionary biology to clinical medicine. The authors draw upon decades of experience teaching medical students at Yale, with interesting examples, including experimental observations in other species." - Gilbert S. Omenn, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health

"In addition to being intelligent, engaging, clear, and concise (prerequisites for any good textbook), Evolutionary Medicine outlines the field as a series of problems and questions rather than as a set of facts and concepts. Stearns and Medzhitov repeatedly challenge the reader to think critically and logically, to question common assumptions, and to demand good, critical scientific data and thinking. The book is also fun to read because the authors' passion and pleasure in the topic are evident from start to finish. All in all, anyone reading Evolutionary Medicine will get a solid foundation and plenty of stimulus for thinking broadly and critically about how to apply evolutionary data and theory to medicine." - Daniel E. Lieberman, American Journal of Human Biology

"Evolutionary Medicine is intended for undergraduate, graduate, or medical school courses. It draws from fields as diverse as anthropology to molecular biology in order to illustrate the vast landscape of an organism in all its complexity. In contrast to the reductionist approach often taken to answer complex biological questions, much of the strength of the book derives from the authors' ability to step back and describe themes that are broadly generalizable. This alternative perspective allows for an innovative understanding of basic biological processes with profound translational potential. The striking simplicity of the author's overall thesis allows the book to address, in a novel light, questions as fundamental as 'What is a patient?' as well as 'What is a disease?'" - Alexandra Kuhlmann, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

Additional Resources

Available to qualified adopters, the Instructor's Resource Library includes the following resources:

* Textbook Figures & Tables: All figures (line-art illustrations and photographs) and tables from the textbook, provided as both high- and low-resolution JPEGs. All have been formatted and optimized for excellent projection quality. Also included are ready-to-use PowerPoint presentations of all figures and tables.

* Lecture Presentations: For each chapter of the textbook, the authors have prepared ready-to-use lecture presentations that include text reviewing the key facts and concepts from the chapter, along with selected figures and tables.

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