Robert Perlman, MD PhD
Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences
The University of Chicago
947 E. 58th St., MC0926
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: (773) 702-6425
Office: WCH C574 (MC 5058)
The goal of my academic work is to help physicians, biomedical scientists, and students appreciate the value of evolutionary
biology for medical research, education, and practice. Evolutionary concepts provide a framework for understanding why we
remain vulnerable to disease. Several aspects of evolutionary biology have special relevance to medicine. The theory of
host-pathogen coevolution helps to explain the natural histories of infectious diseases and calls attention to the idea that
the manifestations of disease may be part of our evolved defense mechanisms. Life history theory enriches our understanding
of aging and provides novel insights into socioeconomic disparities in health. Finally, evolutionary theory helps us
appreciate the origins and significance of human variation. Integration of an evolutionary perspective into medical research
may lead to new interventions to prevent, cure, or ameliorate disease.
Weisfeld, A., and
Perlman, R.L. (2005) Disparities and discrimination in health care: An introduction. Perspect. Biol. Med. 48, S1-S9.
Perlman, R.L. (2005) Why disease persists: An evolutionary nosology. Med. Health Care Philos. 8, 343-350.
Perlman, R.L. (2007) The socioeconomic context of health and healthcare. Midway Review 2(2), 16-23.
Perlman, R.L. (2008) Socioeconomic inequalities in ageing and health. Lancet 372, S34-S39.
Perlman, R.L. (2009) Life histories of pathogen populations. Int J Infect Dis. 13, 121-124.
Schechter, A. N., and
Perlman, R.L. (2009). Evidence-based medicine again. Perspect. Biol. Med. 52, 161-163.
Nesse, R.M., Bergstrom, C.T., Ellison, P.T., Flier, J.S., Gluckman, P., Govindaraju, D.R., Niethammer, D.,
Schwartz, M., Thomas, M.G., Stearns, S.C., and Valle, D. (2010) Making evolutionary
biology a basic science for medicine. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107,1800-1807.
Perlman, R.L. (2011) Evolutionary biology: A basic science for medicine in the 21st century. Perspect. Biol. Med. 54, 75-88.