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Dr Mhairi Gibson wins funding for research in Cameroon

2 January 2015

In regions where infectious diseases – such as malaria – are common, do women give birth at a younger age and produce more children and how much variation is there between individuals in the same area? These are the types of questions being asked by Dr Mhairi Gibson, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology and collaborators in Biological Sciences, with the support of Cabot Institute Innovation Funds and an ESRC Transformative Social Science Prize.

Based on evolutionary life history theory predictions, we intend to investigate how infection risk – and perception of that risk – influences human reproductive behaviour. Combining methods from anthropology, demography and infection biology we will explore how these responses are influenced by perceptions, attitudes and social norms regulating reproduction in the context of rural communities in Cameroon where risk of infection is an ever present reality.

Funds will be used to support a one-month study in Cameroon in 2015 involving students, as well as infection biologists based in Bristol and the University of Buea, Cameroon.

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