• Title Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology
    Affiliated Faculty, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Education PhD, New York University, 2010
  • Web Address http://www.evopropinquitous.net/
  • Phone 617-353-5026
  • Area of Interest primate growth and development, ontogeny and etiology of obesity, population and functional genomics, quantitative genetics, primate behavioral ecology and life history
  • CV

Current Research

The central research questions of my lab involve primate development and life history and incorporate techniques from behavioral ecology, morphometrics, and genomics across the Order Primates and in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.), in particular.

Through intensive fieldwork across Africa and the Caribbean with the International Vervet Research Consortium we have collected biological samples from over two thousand wild vervet monkeys. Current projects using this dataset include characterizing evolutionary patterns in the developmental morphometrics of various vervet populations, including the use of population and comparative genomic techniques. We also investigate the genomics of obesity during development in over 700 fully sequenced and pedigreed captive vervets at Wake Forest University. Work is ongoing to assess the phenotypic impact of captive-discovered QTL in our extensive wild sample, assessing variability in phenotype expression and population-specific selection based on local ecology and anthropogenic impacts. Field work for these projects is ongoing (UROP students are welcome), and can be followed on social media at #BUvervets16 and #BUvervets17.

Another area of investigation is the evolution of dental phenotypes across primates. With colleagues at UC Berkeley, we have discovered a method for better understanding the underlying genetic architecture of dental phenotypes using quantitative genetics and metric measures of museum specimens. Students in my lab have ongoing projects in local museums collecting dental measurements of both extant and fossil New World monkeys and lemurs with the goal of better understanding the evolution of these dental phenotypes across primates.

Selected Publications

  • Hlusko LJ, Schmitt CA, Monson T, Brasil M and Mahaney MC. (2016). The integration of quantitative genetics, paleontology, and neontology reveals genetic underpinnings of primate dental evolution. PNAS 113(33): 9262-9267.
  • Turner TR, Coetzeer WG, Schmitt CA, Lorenz J, Freimer NB, Grobler JP. (2016). Localized population divergence of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.) in South Africa: evidence from mtDNA. Am J Phys Anthropol 159: 17-30.
  • Warren WC, Jasinska AJ, Garcia-Perez R, Svardel H, Tomlinson C, Rocchi M, Archidiacono N, Capozzi O, Minx P, Montague MJ, Kyung K, Hillier LW, Kremitzki M, Graves T, Chiang C, Hughes J, Tran N, Wang Y, Ramensky V, Choi O, Jung YJ, Schmitt CA, Juretic N, Wasserscheid J, Turner TR, Wiseman RW, Tuscher JJ, Karl JA, Schmitz JE, Zahn R, O’Connor DH, Redmond E, Nisbett A, Jacquelin B, Müller-Trutwin MC, Brenchley JM, Dione M, Antonio A, Schroth GP, Kaplan JR, Jorgensen MJ, Thomas GWC, Hahn MW, Raney B, Aken B, Schmitz J, Churakov G, Noll A, Stanyon R, Webb D, Thibaud-Nissen F, Nordborg M, Marques-Bonet T, Dewar K, Weinstock GM, Wilson RK, Freimer NB. (2015). The genome of the vervet (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus). Genome Research 25: 1921-1933.
  • Amato KR, Yeoman CJ, Cerda G, Schmitt CA, Cramer JD, Berg Miller MB, Gomez A, Turner TR, Wilson BA, Stumpf RM, Nelson KE, White BA, Knight R and Leigh SR. (2015). Variable responses of human and non-human primate gut microbiomes to a Western diet. Microbiome 3: 53.
  • Schmitt CA and Di Fiore A. (2015). Predation risk sensitivity and the spatial organization of primate groups: A case study using GIS in lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii). Am J Phys Anthropol 156: 158-165.
  • Di Fiore A, Chaves P, Cornejo F, Schmitt CA, Shanee S, Cortes-Ortiz L, Fagundes V, Roos C, and Pacheco V. (2015). Rise and fall of a genus: Complete mtDNA coding sequences shed light on the phylogenetic position of yellow-tailed woolly monkeys, Lagothrix (Oreonax) flavicauda, and on the evolutionary history of the Neotropical primate family Atelidae (Platyrrhini). Mol Phylogenet Evol 82(B): 495-510.
  • Rodriguez RL, Cramer JD, Schmitt CA, Gaetano TJ, Grobler JP, Freimer NB, and Turner TR. (2015). The static allometry of sexual and non-sexual traits in vervet monkeys. Biol J Linnean Soc, 114: 527-537.
  • Jasinska AJ, Schmitt CA, Service SK, Cantor RM, Dewar K, Jentsch DJ, Kaplan JR, Turner TR, Warren WC, Weinstock, GM, Woods RP, Freimer NB. (2013) Systems biology of the vervet monkey. ILAR / Natl Res Council. 54: 122-143.
  • Courses Taught:

    • AN 102 Human Behavioral Biology and Evolution
    • AN/WS 233 Evolutionary Biology of Human Variation
    • AN 331/731 Human Origins
    • AN 333/733 Human Population Biology
    • AN 336/736 Primate Evolutionary Ecology
    • AN 558 Human Sex Differences
    • AN 597 Project Design and Statistics in Biological Anthropology

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