CEM Seminar - Stephen Stearns
Edward P. Bass Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
On the nature of tradeoffs
The word tradeoff is loosely applied to connections among traits that arise in several importantly different situations. I will use recent work on the connections between reproductive performance, cancer, and coronary artery disease and between removal of immune organs in children and risk of disease later in life to motivate a general analysis of the diverse natures of tradeoffs.
Prof. Stearns specializes in life history evolution, which links the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, and in evolutionary medicine. He came to Yale in 2000 from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he had been professor of zoology since 1983 and held several administrative posts. At Yale he chaired his department 2002-2005. His books include "Evolutionary Medicine" (Sinauer, 2015) with Ruslan Medzhitov, “Evolution, an introduction” (Oxford, 2000, 2nd Ed 2005) with Rolf Hoekstra, “Watching, from the Edge of Extinction” (Yale, 1999) with his wife Beverly Peterson Stearns, “The Evolution of Life Histories” (Oxford, 1992), and two edited volumes, “Evolution in health and disease” (Oxford, 1998, 2nd Ed 2008) and “The Evolution of Sex and its Consequences.” A 1967 graduate of Yale College, Stearns earned a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. He was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, before taking up an appointment at Reed College prior to moving to Switzerland. Prof. Stearns founded and has served as president of both the European Society for Evolutionary Biology and the Tropical Biology Association, was founding editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, and is the founding editor of Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. He has been a vice president of the Society for the Study of Evolution and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2015 the University of Zurich awarded him an honorary degree.