Dr. Christopher Schmitt is a biological anthropologist whose research explores mechanistic and adaptive aspects of developmental variation using techniques from behavioral ecology, physiology, morphometrics, and genomics. His current focus is on two nonhuman primate models: New World atelins (woolly and spider monkeys) and Old World vervets.
His most recent work uses biomedical and genomics-based methodologies to better understand primate development. Through intensive fieldwork across Africa and the Caribbean with the International Vervet Research Consortium, he has collected biological samples from over a thousand wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.), with which he collaborates on a number of NIH-funded projects ranging from the evolution and pathogenicity of SIV in wild vervets, to vervet parasite diversity, to genital allometry and developmental morphometrics.
His core project involves the genomics of obesity during development, currently being conducted with captive vervets at Wake Forest University. The next step is to 1) investigate the phenotypic impact of genomic loci in wild samples, assessing variability in phenotype expression and population-specific selection based on local ecology and anthropogenic impacts, and 2) to dig deeper into the mechanistic aspects of obesogenic growth through the study of gene expression patterns correlated with dietary shifts during development.
If you’re a BU undergraduate and would like to work in Dr. Schmitt’s lab, please see his ad on the UROP website. If you’re a prospective graduate student who would like to work with Dr. Schmitt, please contact him at the email address above to discuss prior to sending in an application.