Dr. Natterson-Horowitz launched Female Health Across the Tree of Life (FHTOL) to strengthen scientific research and innovation at the intersection of women’s health, One Health, and Planetary Health.

Across the tree of life, female animals share biological characteristics placing them at increased risk for similar diseases and disorders. Females of some species are resistant to major health challenges in women. Both shared vulnerability and unique resistance in female animals are a source of insight and innovation for women’s health. A species-spanning sisterhood promises new knowledge, innovation, and hope.

There are many benefits to moving beyond anthropocentric and androcentric traditions in medicine. Foremost among these is the clarity of vision to recognize the key to safeguarding the future health of animals across the tree of life: protecting the planet and the biodiversity it supports.

from “Female Health Across the Tree of Life: Insights at the Intersection of Women’s Health, One Health and Planetary Health,” PNAS Nexus, 2022 by B. Natterson-Horowitz, Amy Boddy and Dawn Zimmerman

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is the leading cause of heart failure in women.  In 2021, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz and colleagues published a study identifying the giraffe cardiovascular system as a potential natural animal model for resistance to HFpEF. Currently, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz and collaborators from UC San Diego are working to understand how healthy pregnant giraffes with systolic blood pressures exceeding 250 mmHg avoid the adverse effects of gestational hypertension in humans. Updates to this research are ongoing and will be available on this website.