Teaching Awards

Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society Visiting Professorship


Excellence in Teaching Award: UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Teaching Excellence Award: UCLA School of Medicine


Cardiology Fellows Teaching Award: UCLA Division of Cardiology


Chief Residents Teaching Award: UCLA Medical Center


Teaching Excellence Award: UCLA Internal Medicine

Courses

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Harvard University

Harvard Department of Human Evolutionary Biology 1328: Evolutionary Medicine: Comparative Perspectives on Medical, Surgical and Psychiatric Illness

Heart attacks, breast cancer, anxiety, and eating disorders occur across the animal kingdom. Taught by a physician, the course explores the species-spanning and evolutionary origins of medical, surgical, and psychiatric illnesses. A `mini-medical school’ format will be used to introduce students to ten forms of human pathology emphasizing the typical mechanistic explanations of disease causation offered by physicians followed by in-depth evolutionary analyses. Both physical and mental illnesses will be explored across the animal kingdom with a special focus on how emerging awareness of psychopathology in animals can alter the perception (stigma) and treatment of mental illness in human beings. Students will attend Medicine, Surgery, Cardiology, Pediatrics or Psychiatry Grand Rounds two times during the semester as part of the course. They will be expected to apply evolutionary principles to the disease processes presented.

[Course Catalog]

Harvard Department of Human Evolutionary Biology 1389: Coming of Age on Planet Earth

The challenges of adult maturation are not unique to our species. Some young adult animals take risks and lose their lives, others respond to stress with eating problems or to traumatic first sexual encounters with subsequent dysfunction. This seminar-style course will use a comparative approach to explore how young adult animals learn to be safe, how they acquire or lose status and rank, how they come of age sexually, and how they learn to survive and thrive on their own. This course offers an approach to understanding adolescence which draws from animal behavior, physiology, human cultural traditions and coming of age stories.

In “Coming of Age on Planet Earth,” students will develop knowledge of eco-evolutionary principles and explore the application of behavioral ecology to our understanding of adolescent and young adult development. Each class will center around a question or concern related to human adolescence which will be addressed using varied lenses from a range of disciplines. This year, the adolescent lens will be applied to Harvard’s various museum collections.

[Course Catalog]

Harvard Department of Human Evolutionary Biology Thesis Supervision (Undergraduate)

Harvard Department of Human Evolutionary Biology 91R: Independent Research Supervision

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University of California at Los Angeles

UCLA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 297 Graduate Seminars

EEB 297: Applications of Evolutionary Principles to Medicine

All contemporary medical issues have evolutionary roots. Applying the principles of evolutionary biology and ecology to the understanding of high impact human medical concerns can generate novel hypotheses and spark innovation. The application of these principles to a wide range of medical concerns from heart failure and breast cancer to anxiety disorder and Crohn’s disease is already transforming fundamental assumptions about these conditions. Still, this perspective remains significantly underleveraged by medical communities. Developing an awareness and understanding of these evolutionary roots of human pathology provides health care providers and researchers with an expanded perspective to enhance patient outcomes.

In “Applications of Evolutionary Principles to Medicine,” students will developing the skillset required to apply these eco-evolutionary principles to medical concerns in a meaningful way. This graduate-level seminar will explore current topics in evolutionary medicine through class discussion of readings and short lectures. This seminar will focus on integrating information from the medical and eco-evolutionary literature. A tentative schedule of topics has been selected; however, there will be opportunities to revise the content and schedule based on the collective interests and background of the class.  We will explore each topic through discussions of the primary literature and with short lectures.

Readings consist of a combination of essential papers/topics assigned to all students as well as a broader selection of publications which reflect the breadth of topics in the field that will be divided amongst the class participants.  One student per week, on the weeks designated on the course schedule, will serve as lecturer and be responsible for a 30-minute lecture on the background of the papers at the start of class.  The same student will also serve as a discussion leader for the class using the chosen assigned readings (in consultation with the instruction) and will facilitate discussion of the readings and content from the student’s lecture.

All contemporary medical issues have evolutionary roots. Applying the principles of evolutionary biology and ecology to the understanding of high impact human medical concerns can generate novel hypotheses and spark innovation. The application of these principles to a wide range of medical concerns from heart failure and breast cancer to anxiety disorder and Crohn’s disease is already transforming fundamental assumptions about these conditions. Still, this perspective remains significantly underleveraged by medical communities. Developing an awareness and understanding of these evolutionary roots of human pathology provides health care providers and researchers with an expanded perspective to enhance patient outcomes.

In “Applications of Evolutionary Principles to Medicine,” students will developing the skillset required to apply these eco-evolutionary principles to medical concerns in a meaningful way. This graduate-level seminar will explore current topics in evolutionary medicine through class discussion of readings and short lectures. This seminar will focus on integrating information from the medical and eco-evolutionary literature. A tentative schedule of topics has been selected; however, there will be opportunities to revise the content and schedule based on the collective interests and background of the class.  We will explore each topic through discussions of the primary literature and with short lectures.

Readings consist of a combination of essential papers/topics assigned to all students as well as a broader selection of publications which reflect the breadth of topics in the field that will be divided amongst the class participants.  One student per week, on the weeks designated on the course schedule, will serve as lecturer and be responsible for a 30-minute lecture on the background of the papers at the start of class.  The same student will also serve as a discussion leader for the class using the chosen assigned readings (in consultation with the instruction) and will facilitate discussion of the readings and content from the student’s lecture.

EEB 297: The Literature of Evolutionary Medicine

The emerging field of evolution medicine integrates scholarship from a diverse range of scientific fields. Facilitating the growth of evolutionary medicine has been the publication of several interdisciplinary books which ask foundational questions. Given the broad range of questions evolutionary medicine aspires to consider, exploration of this seminal and diverse literature is crucial.

In “The Literature of Evolutionary Medicine,” students will develop a broad range of knowledge to apply eco-evolutionary principles to understanding health and development in animals, including people. This graduate-level seminar will explore current topics in evolutionary medicine through class discussion of readings and short lectures. This seminar will focus on integrating information from the medical and eco-evolutionary literature. A tentative schedule of topics has been selected; however, there will be opportunities to revise the content and schedule based on the collective interests and background of the class.  We will explore each topic through discussions of the primary literature.

Students will read and analyze a collection of foundational books related to evolutionary medicine. The literature will be considered from scientific and cultural perspectives with an emphasis placed on contextualizing the information within medical and evolutionary frameworks. One student per week, on the weeks designated on the course schedule, will serve as lecturer and be responsible for a 30-minute lecture on the content of their assigned reading at the start of class.  The same student will also serve as a discussion leader for the class and will facilitate discussion of the reading assignment. The oral book report should be a summary and inquisition of the content of the book.

Additionally, all students are responsible for reading each books’ opening and closing chapters.  Each student should prepare 2-5 questions to facilitate discussion with the discussion leader.

EEB 297: Foundations of Evolutionary Medicine

Evolutionary medicine brings a diverse range of scientific lenses and tools to the study of human and animal health and disease. In “Foundations of Evolutionary Medicine,” students will develop their ability to apply eco-evolutionary principles to understanding health and development. This graduate-level seminar will explore current topics in evolutionary medicine through class discussion of readings and short lectures. This seminar will focus on integrating information from the medical and eco-evolutionary literature.

Many of the central questions, challenges and approaches of evolutionary medicine have been captured in a range of high-quality popular science books published over the past several decades. Students will read and analyze a collection of these foundational books related to evolutionary medicine. The literature will be considered from scientific and cultural perspectives with an emphasis placed on contextualizing the information within medical and evolutionary frameworks. Students will be responsible for lecturing and leading class discussion based on the content of their assigned reading.

Course Objectives

  1. Through analysis and discussion of the core literature of evolutionary medicine, students will develop an understanding of evolutionary perspectives of contemporary medical, surgical and psychiatric illness.
  2. Students will develop a systematic approach to the study of medical issues, which incorporates evolutionary principles.
  3. Students will develop an expanded perspective of development, health and disease, including an awareness of comparative medicine, paleopathology, and medico-ecological concerns.

UCLA English Composition: 129C-Writing in Disciplines: Physical and Life Sciences

Medical Narrative: Storytelling from the Operating Room, Emergency Department and other Frontlines of Medicine

Whether reporting a diagnostic breakthrough in a New York Times op-ed, crafting a grant proposal to a philanthropic foundation, or demystifying a new medical technique for a television audience or an anxious patient, doctors need to communicate well. In essence, they must “translate” science into compelling, engaging words and images. Medical narrative does this by combining specialized science writing with personal reflection. As practiced by doctor-writers like Atul Gawande, Perri Klass, Jerome Groopman and Oliver Sacks, medical narrative educates and informs, sometimes even entertains, a general audience.

As we study the craft of medical narrative, we’ll experience the drama of acute medical settings (autopsy suites, high tech operating rooms, ER areas and more). We’ll learn about the writerly techniques of plot, structure, character, description and observation—seeing the big picture in the small detail. We’ll examine how to explain the science of medicine in simple, clear language while keeping the medical concepts and sources scrupulously accurate. And we’ll interview hospital personnel, including doctors, chaplains, social workers and researchers—reporting on the day-to-day and cutting-edge aspects of working in medicine.

Our goal will be learning to write with a blend of technical detail and private observation in order to prepare for a career of communicating with a wide range of patients and medical colleagues.

UCLA School of Medicine: SL619 MS Elective-Zoobiquity: Cardiovascular Medicine Across Species

Medical students will be exposed to cardiovascular diseases across the animal kingdom. Instruction in echocardiography, electrocardiography, auscultation and other diagnostic techniques will emphasize the benefits of the comparative method. Source material from both the human and veterinary medical literature will be reviewed.  The comparative approach featured in this course will also provide students with an opportunity to better understand the connections between contemporary cardiovascular disease and evolutionary biology.

Course objectives also include the following:

  • Basic EKG interpretation, cardiac auscultation/examination, echocardiography, and other cardiac imaging will be presented to students in both human and veterinary patients.
  • Using a comparative approach, students will gain fundamental knowledge about the pathophysiology of various forms of heart disease.
  • Course will include imaging experiences with human and animals in a variety of medical and veterinary settings.
  • Collaboration with veterinary colleagues will broaden the students’ understanding of these conditions in their human patients.
  • In addition, students will participate in discussion of selected readings in Darwinian medicine.

UCLA Department of Biomedical Engineering Seminar: Course #299/199

Lectured on innovations in cardiac imaging technologies, emphasizing a range of echocardiographic strategies.

UCLA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 186-Evolutionary Medicine: A Clinical Perspective on Medical, Surgical and Psychiatric Disorders

Heart attacks, breast cancer, anxiety, and eating disorders occur across the animal kingdom. Taught by a physician, the course explores the species-spanning and evolutionary origins of medical, surgical, and psychiatric illnesses. A `mini-medical school’ format will be used to introduce students to ten forms of human pathology emphasizing the typical mechanistic explanations of disease causation offered by physicians followed by in-depth evolutionary analyses. Both physical and mental illnesses will be explored across the animal kingdom with a special focus on how emerging awareness of psychopathology in animals can alter the perception (stigma) and treatment of mental illness in human beings. Students will attend Medicine, Surgery, Cardiology, Pediatrics or Psychiatry Grand Rounds two times during the semester as part of the course. They will be expected to apply evolutionary principles to the disease processes presented.

UCLA School of Medicine: HBD 409-MS II Cardiovascular, Renal and Respiratory Diseases II

Primary lecturer on cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and respiratory physiology for 1st and 2nd year UCLA medical students.

UCLA International Development Studies Course: IDS 190C-"Global Health Issues” and “Mental Health Issues in International Health”

Lectured on mental health concerns across international populations.

UCLA School of Medicine: HBD 409-Cardiovascular Physiology: Cardiovascular, Renal, Respiratory Medicine I

Primary lecturer on cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and respiratory physiology for 1st and 2nd year UCLA medical students.

UCLA School of Medicine: HBD409 - Cardiovascular, Renal, Respiratory Medicine II

Primary lecturer on cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and respiratory physiology for 1st and 2nd year UCLA medical students.

UCLA School of Medicine: M202 – Clinical Pharmacology, Pathophysiology of Disease (PPD)

Primary lecturer on clinical pharmacology and pathophysiology for 1st and 2nd year UCLA medical students.

UCLA School of Medicine: Human Patient Simulator Lab

Hands-on instruction to 1st and 2nd year medical students, interns, residents and cardiology fellows using patient simulation technology.