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Laura Wittman Speaker Series

2nd Annual Wittman Lecture Series, Funded through the Support of Laura and Jim Wittman

Friday, March 23, 2018, 6:00 p.m. Science Building, room 012

Dr. Lawrence Schell, Wittman Lecturer, March 23, 2018


Professor, Department of Anthropology and Department of Epidemiology and Biostastics. Director, Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities State University fo New York, Albany

WISU interview with Dr. Schell

Dr. Schell's presentation "Health Disparities in the U.S. and the Special Case of American Indians" will be in Science room 012 on March 23rd. 

5:30 - Light Refreshments
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Dr. Schell's Presentation
7:00-8:00 p.m. - Round table discussion


Dr. Schell's interest include: Biological anthropology, medical anthropology, human growth and development, cities and health.

Research Statement
My research concerns the interrelationship between biology and culture and focuses on biological responses to contemporary urban environments. The urban environment may be the new frontier for human adaptation because more and more people are living in urban environments and these environments are becoming less and less like the environments of our forebearers, i.e., more challenging. I have been researching this topic by looking at the health of people exposed to different features of the urban environment. I began with a study of how noise, as a type of urban stress, affected human development, both prenatal and post-natal. I have since branched out to consider other pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lead.

I have three current research projects. One looks at the effect of lead on child physical and cognitive development in Albany, NY. It also examines the influence of nutrition and other maternal characteristics on the transfer of lead from mother to fetus and on child development itself.  The second project seeks to address the growing concern about the effect of certain pollutants on sexual and physical development. It is a study of how PCBs may affect physical and sexual development during adolescence. This study is conducted in partnership with the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne in upstate New York. The third study, also conducted in partnership with the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, examines the relationship of pollutants to the reproductive health of Akwesasne women who are concerned that pollution exposure may have damaged their ability to have children. 

Past Wittman Speakers

  • Richard Potts, head of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program and holds the Peter Buck Chair in Human Origins at the National Museum of Natural History. Spring 2017

Department of Earth and Environmental Systems