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Melissa Melby Anthropology

Melissa Melby is a biological/medical anthropologist with training in chemistry, environment and development (geography), and nutritional epidemiology. Her research examines the ways in which environmental factors, broadly conceived to include physical, biological and sociocultural 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.

She began conducting research on menopause and midlife in Japan as a window to understand how cultural and biological factors including 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, 2011-2003.

U.S. National Institute of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Research Service Award, 2002-2005.

British Marshall Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 1992-1994.

Relevant Publications

MK Melby and M Mauger, "Effects of Agriculture on Environmental and Human Health: Opportunities for Anthropology," In Merrill Singer ed. A Companion to the Anthropology of Environmental Health. Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 44-67, 2016.

MK Melby and M Lampl. "Menopause: A Bio-Cultural Perspective," Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 40, pp. 53-70, 2011.

MK Melby, L Leidy Sievert, D Anderson, C Makhlouf Obermeyer. "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, vol. 70, pp. 99-109, 2011.

MK Melby. "Chilliness: A vasomotor symptom in Japan," Menopause, vol. 14, pp. 1-8, 2007.



Advisory Committee Chair Humans & the Microbiome


University of Delaware Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences Coordinator for Population Health Initiatives, College of Health Sciences


United States

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