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Thom McDade Anthropologist

Thom McDade’s research focuses on health and human development in relation to social and cultural contexts and processes. Current work focuses on the health impact of psychosocial stress, and the long term effects of early environments on inflammation. He has also developed “field-friendly” methods for integrating biological measures into population-based, social science research.


Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2004.

Carlos Montezuma Professor

Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research

Director, Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health

Relevant Publications

T.W. McDade et al, "Long term effects of birth weight and breastfeeding duration on inflammation in early adulthood," Proc. R. Soc. B, vol. 281, pp. 20133116, 2014.

T.W. McDade, "Early environments and the ecology of inflammation," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., vol. 109, pp. 17281-8, 2012.

T.W. McDade et al, "What a drop can do: dried blood spots as a minimally invasive method for integrating biomarkers into population-based research," Demography, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 899-925, Nov. 2007.



Senior Fellow Child & Brain Development


Northwestern UniversityDepartment of Anthropology


PhD (Anthropology) Emory University

BA (Biosocial Anthropology) Pomona College


United States

Ideas Related to Thom McDade

News | Child & Brain Development

Teen attitudes predict absentee fathers

Teenage boys’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about sex predict whether they will become absentee fathers, a new study has found....

News | Child & Brain Development

Adolescent relationships important for adult health

Adolescent girls who have strong relationships with their parents and good friendships with boys face fewer risks of health problems...

News | Child & Brain Development

Low birth weight, less breastfeeding create later health risks

Lower weight babies and babies who aren’t breastfed or not breastfed for long are at greater risk of developing chronic...