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Department of Anthropology Speaker Series presents: Tom Brutsaert

Dr. Paul & Natalie Strasser Legacy Room - 220 Eggers Hall

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Human Adaptation to High Altitude:  A half-century of study in Biological Anthropology.


In the late 1960s and early 1970’s, the anthropologist Paul Baker initiated a series of multidisciplinary studies of Peruvian high altitude Quechua populations in the Andes. The objective was to collect normative data on the biological characteristics of Quechua, and to test hypotheses of evolutionary and/or developmental adaptation to chronic altitude exposure.  Baker’s students carried this work forward in many disparate directions, including new geographical directions with novel studies of other altitude native populations in the Himalayas and in Ethiopia.  In the last decade, molecular genetic work has dramatically advanced our understanding of how humans adapt to high altitude.  This talk will take a historical perspective, but will also focus on recent developments in the field and Brutsaert’s own (recently completed) 4-year genetic study of Peruvian Quechua in Lima and Cerro de Pasco, Peru.

Dr. Tom Brutsaert is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise Science in the School of Education at Syracuse University and an Associate Professor of Anthropology by Courtesy Appointment.

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Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

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To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.