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Leslie Knapp

Leslie Knapp

Chair Department of Anthroplogy, Anthropology Department, University of Utah
Professor, Anthropology Department, University of Utah
Email: leslie.knapp@anthro.utah.edu
Phone: 801/581-6251

Curriculum Vitae | Biosketch | Research Site

Biography

Education

  • B.A, Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • M.A, Biological Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • PhD, Biological Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles. Reproductive Success in Pigtailed Macaques (Macaca nemestrina):The Influence of the Major Histocompatibility Complex.

Biography

I was broadly trained as an anthropologist and completed my PhD in Physical (Biological) Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1994. My doctoral research focused on the investigation of immunogenetic factors, particularly immunological similarity between mates, contributing to pregnancy wastage in pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina). As a postdoc, I studied the evolution of immune response (major histocompatibility complex, MHC) genes in primates, researching the antiquity of particular MHC loci and evaluating the relationship between habitat, MHC genes and disease.

Beginning in 1997, when I joined the Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, I launched an independent career studying molecular genetics, human, and especially nonhuman primate, evolution. At Cambridge, I established the PrIME (Primate Immunogenetics and Molecular Ecology) genetics laboratory and research group for the study of nonhuman primates, humans, and ultimately other mammals such as endangered Darwin's foxes, Fuegian foxes and grey seals. I supervised eight postdoctoral researchers and 16 PhD students to completion in my laboratory. The PrIME lab also hosted international researchers from Japan, France, Switzerland, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and the USA.

During my 15 years at Cambridge, I spent sabbaticals in Biology Departments at the University of Veracruz, Mexico and the University of Rennes, France. I was also an Academic Guest in the Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the University of New Mexico.

I joined Utah's Anthropology Department in July 2013. My research interests in human and non-human primate genetics and evolutionary biology complement the research activities of the faculty members in The Department and I am establishing new and productive collaborations with many faculty already. I have also begun supervising graduate students and undergraduates interested in laboratory research.

In the Media

  • Science Daily: Better hygiene in wealthy nations may increase Alzheimer's risk, study suggests. 09/2013.
  • FORBES: Does Living In A Healthy Environment Raise Alzheimer's Risk? A New Theory Says Yes. 09/2013.
  • NHS Choices: Does breastfeeding lower Alzheimer's risk? . 08/2013.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Gabon
  • Mexico
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • United Republic of Tanzania

Teaching

Current Courses

Fall 2015

  • Human Origin Evol/Diver, ANTH 1020-001, Location: SW 133 (Graduate School Social Work).
  • Sex and Gender, ANTH 4183-001, Location: ST 104 (William Stewart Bldg).
  • Undergraduate Research, ANTH 4950-001
  • Undergraduate TA, ANTH 4955-001
  • Honors Thesis/Project, ANTH 4999-001
  • Sex and Gender, ANTH 6183-001
  • Individual Study, ANTH 6950-001
  • Thesis Research-Masters, ANTH 6970-001
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 6980-001
  • Individual Research, ANTH 7910-001
  • Guided Reading, ANTH 7920-001
  • Thesis Research-PhD, ANTH 7970-001
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 7980-001
  • Cont Reg-PhD, ANTH 7990-001

Summer 2015

  • Undergraduate Research, ANTH 4950-001
  • Undergraduate TA, ANTH 4955-001
  • Maya Archaeology: Fld Rsrch, ANTH 4962-008
  • Maya Hieroglyphic Wrtg, Level1, ANTH 4962-009
  • Ind Res: Health Track, ANTH 4990-001
  • Maya Archaeology: Fld Rsrch, ANTH 5962-008
  • Maya Hieroglyphic Wrtg, Level1, ANTH 5962-009
  • Individual Study, ANTH 6950-001
  • Thesis Research-Masters, ANTH 6970-001
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 6980-001
  • Individual Research, ANTH 7910-001
  • Guided Reading, ANTH 7920-001
  • Thesis Research-PhD, ANTH 7970-001
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 7980-001
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 7980-002
  • Cont Reg-PhD, ANTH 7990-001

Spring 2015

  • Intro to Primates, ANTH 2281-001, Location: ST 208 (William Stewart Bldg).
  • Internship, ANTH 4900-001, Location: ( ).
  • Undergraduate Research, ANTH 4950-001
  • Undergraduate TA, ANTH 4955-001, Location: ( ).
  • Ind Res: Health Track, ANTH 4990-001, Location: ( ).
  • Individual Study, ANTH 6950-001
  • Thesis Research-Masters, ANTH 6970-001, Location: ( ).
  • Thesis Research-Masters, ANTH 6970-016, Location: ( ).
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 6980-001
  • Individual Research, ANTH 7910-001, Location: ( ).
  • Guided Reading, ANTH 7920-001, Location: ( ).
  • Thesis Research-PhD, ANTH 7970-001, Location: ( ).
  • Faculty Consultation, ANTH 7980-001, Location: ( ).
  • Cont Reg-PhD, ANTH 7990-001

Teaching Projects

  • Engaging Students with Hands-On and Interactive Activities in Primatology, Leslie Knapp, University of Utah, Individual Teaching Grant, 12/15/2014 - 06/30/2015

Research

Research Summary

My research focuses on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, which are critical for immune response. I aim to determine how MHC genes vary in humans and primates and to understand how MHC diversity is generated and maintained via disease resistance, sexual selection, inbreeding avoidance and reproductive failure, which has implications for understanding evolution and life history. I also study genetic and hormonal factors related to female life history.

Research Statement

I am a biological anthropologist who uses molecular genetics and endocrine data to study human and non-human primate biology and behavior. My research career began with the development of novel methods for studying molecular genetic diversity and these have since achieved widespread adoption in studies of the effects of natural selection on the immunologically important major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, to examine the antiquity and evolution of particular MHC loci and to evaluate the relationship between habitat, MHC genes and disease. Most of my research has focused on the influence of demography and environment on genetic diversity and in turn how such genetic factors influence inter-individual differences in health, reproductive success and behavior in humans and other primates. More recently, I have added the study of hormones, such as cortisol and testosterone and also progesterone, to better understand variation in parasite load, disease susceptibility and reproductive success in humans and non-human primates. I have published extensively on genetics, hormones, health and behavior in many top-ranked journals. In July 2013, I moved my Primate Immunogenetics and Molecular Ecology laboratory from Cambridge (UK) to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah, where I continue to mentor undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral researchers and serve a Department Chair.

Research Keywords

  • Primatology, Interest Level: 4
  • Immunogenetics, Interest Level: 5
  • Hormones, Interest Level: 2
  • Genetics, Interest Level: 3
  • Evolutionary Biology, Interest Level: 3
  • Behavioral Ecology, Interest Level: 3

Publications

Search my publications on PubMed or USpace.

  • Badhan, A. C.A. Eichstaedt, N. Almond, L.A. Knapp and N.J. Rose Analysis of full-length mitochondrial DNA D-loop sequences from Macaca fascicularis of different geographical origin reveals novel haplotypes. Journal of Medical Primatology (In Press). Pending, 02/2015.
  • Sick C. A.J. Carter, H.H. Marshall, L.A. Knapp, T. Dabelsteen and G. Cowlishaw G. Evidence for varying social strategies across the day in chacma baboons. Biology Letters, 10 (7), 20140249. Published, 07/2014.
  • Fox, M, Berzuini C, Knapp LA. Cumulative estrogen exposure, number of menstrual
  • cycles, and Alzheimer's risk in a cohort of British women.
  • Psychoneuroendocrinology. 38(12):2973-82. Published, 12/2013.
  • Dunn, J.C. A. Shedden-Gonzalez, J. Cristobal-Azkarate, L. CCortes-Ortiz, E. Rodriguez-Luna and L.A. Knapp Limited genetic diversity in the critically endangered howler monkey (Alouatta paliatta Mexicana) in the Selva Zoque, Mexico. Primates, 55 (2), 155-160. Published, 11/2013.
  • Dunn JC, Shedden-González A, Cristóbal-Azkarate J, Cortés-Ortiz L, Rodríguez-Luna E, Knapp LA. Limited genetic diversity in the critically endangered Mexican howler monkey (Alouatta palliata mexicana) in the Selva Zoque, Mexico. Primates. In Press, 11/2013.
  • Setchell JM, Abbott KM, Gonzalez JP, Knapp LA. Testing for post-copulatory selection for major histocompatibility complex genotype in in a semi-free-ranging primate population. Am J Primatol. 75(10):1021-31. Published, 10/2013.
  • Knapp, LA. Molecular genetic tools for evaluating the consequences of habitat fragmentation. LK Marsh and C Chapman (eds.) Primates in Fragments II. New York:Springer, pp.389-398. Published, 09/2013.
  • Fox M, Berzuini C, Knapp LA. Maternal breastfeeding history and Alzheimer's
  • disease risk. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;37(4):809-21. Published, 08/2013.
  • Briceno, C, Knapp, LA, Silva, A, Paredes, J, Avendano, I, Vargas, A, Sotomayor, J, Vila, AR. Detecting endangered huemul deer population increase following removal of cattle and poaching in periglacial habitats of coastal Patagonia, Chile. Oryx, 47(02):273-279. Published, 04/2013.
  • Piel AK, Stewart FA, Pintea L, Li Y, Ramirez MA, Loy DE, Crystal PA, Learn GH,
  • Knapp LA, Sharp PM, Hahn BH. The malagarasi river does not form an absolute
  • barrier to chimpanzee movement in Western Tanzania. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58965.
  • . Published, 03/11/2013.
  • Fox M, Knapp LA, Andrews PW, Fincher CL. Hygiene and the world distribution of
  • Alzheimer's disease: Epidemiological evidence for a relationship between
  • microbial environment and age-adjusted disease burden. Evol Med Public Health.
  • 2013 Jan;2013(1):173-86. Published, 01/2013.
  • Huchard E, Charpentier, MJE, Marshall, H, King, A, Knapp, LA, Cowlishaw, G. Paternal effects on access to resources in a promiscuous primate society. Behavioral Ecology, 7(1):229-236. Published, 11/2012.

Presentations

  • Setchell, J.M, S. Vaglio, K.M. Abbott, J. and L.A. Knapp Odour signals sex, rank and genotype in an Old World monkey. Conference Paper: Behaviour Meets Biochemistry: Animals Making Sense of Molecules Making Scents 2014, Volume: 5 Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 05/2014.
  • Invited Seminar: Human & Non-Human Primate Evolution: Studying genes, hormones and behavior. Department of Psychology, Developmental Psychology brown bag, University of Utah Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/11/2014.
  • Setchell, J.M, M.J. Adams and L.A. Knapp Female mate choice in mandrills (M. sphinx). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, (S53):236. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 04/2014.
  • Genetics and individual identity. Department of Anthropology, University College London, United Kingdom Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/2013.
  • What are major histocompatibility complex genes and why are they relevant to studies of primate behaviour? Italian Primatological Association Congress, Asti, Italy. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/2013.
  • How selection shapes primate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) polymorphism. Department of Biology, University of Alabama, Birmingham Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/2013.

Service

Professional Service

  • Utah System of Higher Education. Chair of Anthropology. 08/01/2014 - present.
  • European Bioinformatics Institute. Curator. Strepsirrhine IMGT-NHP (Immunogenetics-Nonhuman Primate) International MHC Database . 01/2013 - present.
  • Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Dataset Papers, BiologyDataset Papers, Genetics. 01/2013 - present.

Internal Service

  • Society, Water and Climate Search Committee. Committee Member. 08/01/2014 - present. University service.
Last Updated: 11/28/16