Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617)-496-8991; Fax: (617) 496-8041
Email: kduncan at fas.harvard.edu
Broadly, I am interested in how food processing techniques would act to alter hominid biology. More specifically, my primary focus concerns the effects of cooking on masticatory force production, bioavailability of nutrients, and skull and dental growth. As a second year graduate student, I am still in the process of refining the questions that I will address in my dissertation research. One avenue that I hope to pursue (preliminary experiments are in the works!) is a possible mechanism for the integration of skull and dental growth. It is well understood that bone growth responds to loading by upregulating a number of growth factors. Many of these growth factors also have an effect on ameloblast and odontoblast activity. Since the permanent dentition develops within the maxillary and mandibulary arch, it may be that the size of the dentition and alveolar arches are integrated via a paracrine mechanism. Stay tuned for updates as I finish my prospectus and further define the direction of my dissertation work!