Melissa Melby is co-ordinator of population health initiatives at the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences.
A biological/medical anthropologist, she has training in chemistry, nutritional epidemiology and environment and development (geography). Her research examines the ways in which environmental factors – broadly conceived to include physical, biological and socio-cultural influences – interact with human development to result in population differences in health. Much of her research has focused on Japan as a comparative case for ‘western’ models of women’s health and maternal and child health.
Melby began conducting research on menopause and midlife in Japan as a window to understanding how cultural and biological factors such as diet and the microbiome influence the human life course. The results led her to expand her research program to encompass a broader developmental window (ranging from prenatal and early infancy to later childhood and adulthood), as well as a broader concept of the salient environment.
Abe Fellowship, Social Science Research Council and Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, 2011–03
U.S. National Institute of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Research Service Award, 2002–05
British Marshall Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 1992–94
Melby, M.K., and M. Lampl. "Menopause: A Bio-Cultural Perspective." Annual Review of Anthropology 40 (2011): 53–70.
Melby, M.K. et al. "Overview of methods used in cross-cultural comparisons of menopausal symptoms and their determinants: Guidelines for Strengthening the Reporting of Menopause and Aging (STROMA) Studies." Maturitas 70 (2011): 99–109.
Melby, M.K. "Chilliness: A vasomotor symptom in Japan." Menopause 14 (2007): 1–8.
Melby, M.K., and M. Mauger. "Effects of Agriculture on Environmental and Human Health: Opportunities for Anthropology." In A Companion to the Anthropology of Environmental Health
, edited by Merrill Singer, 44–67. Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.