I am a biological anthropologist interested in the evolutionary context of chronic disease and the biosocial relationships between grandmothers, mothers, and children.
Within the frameworks of evolutionary and developmental biology, my research focuses on maternal and grandmaternal transgenerational transmission of genes, phenotypes, life-history patterns, and disease risk. I synthesize information from molecular, clinical, epidemiological, and anthropological research towards understanding the evolutionary context of human health and disease, family and societal structure, and addressing global health challenges.
Current research projects investigate (1) the biological embedding of immigration and acculturation experiences in Mexican American women and how this process influences aspects of gestational physiology that are implicated in shaping fetal developmental trajectories, thereby affecting health across generations; (2) psychobiological profiles of postpartum depression risk, etiology, and manifestation; (3) how the human newborn intestinal ecology (microbiome) affects infant cognitive and emotional development, with implications for vulnerability to mental illness; (4) how gestational and lactational (pregnancy and breastfeeding) physiology impose long-term alterations to biophysiology in ways that affect later-life risk of Alzheimer’s and other geriatric disease.
Students with interest in these projects should email me regarding opportunities for involvement.
Biological anthropology; female reproductive life-history; evolutionary medicine; depression; dementia; longevity; endocrinology; fetal programming; metabolism; acculturation; Hispanic Americans; minority health disparities
Molly Fox, Laura Glynn. (2017) Fetal programming of gender. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender. K Nadal, Ed. In press.
Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, Molly Fox, Laura Glynn. (2016) Demonstration of elevated cerebrospinal fluid CRH levels during pregnancy provides support for (not against) the link between CRH and postpartum depression. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 101(2):L5-6.
Molly Fox, Curt Sandman, Elysia Davis, Laura Glynn. (2016) Intra-individual consistency in endocrine profiles across successive pregnancies. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 100(12): 4637-4647.
Paul W. Andrews, Kyowon R. Lee, Molly Fox, Aadil Bharwani, J. Anderson Thomson, Jr. (2015) Is serotonin an upper or a downer? The evolution of the serotonergic system and its role in depression and the antidepressant response. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 51, 164-188.
Molly Fox, Sonja Entringer, Claudia Buss, Jessica DeHaene, Pathik Wadhwa. (2015). Intergenerational transmission of the effects of acculturation on health in Hispanic Americans: a fetal/developmental programming perspective. American Journal of Public Health. 105(3): S409-423.
Molly Fox, Carlo Berzuini, Leslie A. Knapp. (2013) Cumulative estrogen exposure, number of menstrual cycles, and Alzheimer’s risk in a cohort of British women. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 38(12): 2973–2982.
Molly Fox, Corey L. Fincher, Paul W. Andrews, Leslie A. Knapp. (2013) Hygiene and the world distribution of Alzheimer’s Disease: Epidemiological evidence for a relationship between microbial environment and age-adjusted disease burden. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. 2013(1): 173-186.
Molly Fox, Carlo Berzuini, Leslie A. Knapp. (2013) Maternal breastfeeding history and Alzheimer’s disease risk. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 37(4): 809-21.
Molly Fox, Johannes Johow, Leslie A. Knapp. (2011) The Selfish Grandma Gene: The Roles of the X-Chromosome and Paternity Uncertainty in the Evolution of Grandmothering Behavior and Longevity. International Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 2011:165919, 1-9.
Johannes Johow, Molly Fox, Leslie A. Knapp, Eckart Voland (2011). The presence of a paternal grandmother lengthens interbirth interval following the birth of a granddaughter in Krummhörn (18th and 19th centuries). Evolution and Human Behavior. 32(5): 315-325.
Molly Fox, Rebecca Sear, Jan Beise, Gillian Ragsdale, Eckart Voland, Leslie A. Knapp. (2010). Grandma plays favourites: X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 277(1681): 567-573.