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Achsah Dorsey


My research in human biology focuses on how child health and development is shaped by household and environmental contexts. I incorporate an interdisciplinary perspective into my work based on my graduate training in human biology and anthropology a perspective that has informed my approach to research as a Pre-Doctoral Trainee at the Carolina Population Center, a research affiliate with the Instituto de Investigación Nutricional (IIN) in Lima, Peru, and collaborator with mentors and colleagues in Medicine, Public Health, and Nutrition. I apply quantitative, qualitative, and laboratory methods to my research, allowing for a holistic understanding and approach to the study of health and wellbeing. I structure my work within health research by focusing on mechanisms that link wider contexts to health proposed in evolutionary models through analyses of social and physical environments and biological outcomes.

My current project investigates iron deficiency and anemia in Peruvian pre-school aged children living in a low-income, peri-urban community. With funding from a variety of external sources, including the National Science Foundation and Fulbright Program, I collected qualitative and biological data from 102 children living in the San Juan de Lurigancho district of Lima over a period of 11.5 months. For this project I use an adapted critical ecological model to identify context-specific risk factors for anemia, apply evolutionary medicine theory to examine the dual impact of high anemia rates and adiposity on child immune function, and employ an integrative approach to examine the effects of supplementation on the intestinal microbiome as an underlying pathway linking nutritional deficiencies and disease ecology. This research combines laboratory, anthropological and epidemiological approaches in order to explore the effects of early environments on child health and development.

Dissertation title

Iron, Infection, and Malnutrition: An exploration of childhood anemia and iron deficiency in a peri-urban community in Lima, Peru

Research Interests

Exploring the biological and cultural connections between iron deficiency and infection, the gut microbiome, and home environment in children living in Lima, Peru.

Faculty Preceptor(s)

Amanda L. Thompson, Linda S. Adair