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Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

Cardiologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Zoobiquity

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  • About Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

    Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D., develops bio-inspired strategies for understanding and addressing human health challenges. Her work focuses on the natural world and evolutionary biology as sources of insight for health and development. A Professor of Medicine in the UCLA Division of Cardiology and Visiting Professor in Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, she co-directs the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Program.

    Studying a diverse range of animals in natural settings she has uncovered evolved adaptations with relevance to heart failure, sudden cardiac death, seizures, dementia, movement disorders, infertility and psychiatric conditions including anxiety, compulsive and eating disorders.

    Her most recent research focuses on species-wide patterns in development across critical transitional periods of life including the adolescent to adult transition.

    She is actively involved with education teaching undergraduates and graduate students at UCLA and Harvard, developing courses which use evolutionary and comparative approaches to help medical students better understand physical and mental illnesses.

    Dr. Natterson-Horowitz supervises the independent research of many undergraduates and graduate students as co-director of the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Master’s degree program, as a faculty advisor on the UC-HBCU grant, and as supervising faculty advisor for Harvard undergraduate theses.

    In 2018, she first offered Coming of Age on Planet Earth, a course which uses a comparative and evolutionary frame to better understand the transition from adolescent to adult life across species.

    Dr. Natterson-Horowitz studied evolutionary biology as an undergraduate and graduate student, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard. She attended UC San Francisco for medical school followed by post-graduate training at UCLA including internal medicine residency and chief residency, and cardiology fellowship with advanced training in heart failure and cardiac imaging. She has been a member of the UCLA Division of Cardiology since 1993 and served as Director of Imaging for the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Group.

    In 2012, she published the New York Times bestselling book, Zoobiquity, which makes the case for a species-spanning approach to health. Zoobiquity was a Finalist in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)’s Excellence in Science Books Award, Smithsonian Top Book of 2012, Discover Magazine Best Book of 2012, and the China Times Best Book of 2012. It has been translated into seven languages and has been the common read at universities across the country.

    In September 2019, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz will keynote the Nobel Assembly’s Nobel Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The theme of the 2019 conference be the identification and application of scientific insights from the natural world to human health. In the same month, her new book, Wildhood, a comparative and phylogenetic exploration of the developmental transition from puberty to mature adulthood, will be published.

    Dr. Natterson-Horowitz is President-Elect of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health.

  • Speaking Topics

    Zoobiquity: A Species-Spanning Look at Medical and Psychiatric Issues

    Heart attacks in flamingos, breast cancer in jaguars, eating disorders in pigs, diabetes in dolphins: animals and humans get the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely consult with one another. In this highly visual presentation, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz explains the concept of Zoobiquity and how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species. Natterson-Horowitz illustrates how connecting knowledge across disciplines can improve our physical and mental health.

    This talk challenges healthcare professionals, students and patients to expand their thinking. Specific implications for medical groups in the fields of:
    • Cardiology
    • Oncology
    • Fertility
    • Dermatology
    • Nutrition
    • Immunology
    • Sports Medicine
    • Palliative care
    • Geriatrics
    • Psychiatry

    The Adolescent Animal: Lessons for Growing Up Human

    The transition from the juvenile to adult state happens across the animal kingdom and is a period fraught with opportunity and danger. Using examples of wild and domestic animals with parallel health challenges—koalas with Chlamydia, gorillas with depression, reindeer hooked on mushrooms—this presentation helps students and educators engage in discussions of sensitive but crucial topics including sexuality/STDs, substance abuse, eating disorders, cutting, gender stereotyping, and bullying.

    Fifty Shades of Hay: Sexual Diversity in the Wild

    The diverse range of sexual activities across the animal kingdom offers enlightening insights into human sexuality. Understanding how and why non-human animals engage in sex—for reproductive purposes and often for non-reproductive purposes—expands how we understand the nature and challenges of sexuality in human animals.

  • Video

  • Praise for Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

    Praise for Zoobiquity

    …you will find the argument hard to resist. Plus you will have some killer dinner party gems. Who could resist the story of lemurs with erectile dysfunction, or the iguanas that ejaculate prematurely?

    New Scientist

    Like the best narrative nonfiction, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers…But this book is more than popular science; by combining human and veterinary medicine, the authors seek to change our view of the human place in the animal kingdom, and, with it, the way we treat illness, regardless of the species of the sufferer…vivid and illuminating.

    Politics and Prose

    …astute and funny…revelatory…Zoobiquity is as clarion and perception-altering as works by Oliver Sacks, Michael Pollan, and E. O. Wilson.

    Booklist

    Groundbreaking…essential…truly innovative…the concepts in Zoobiquity are presented so clearly and documented so extensively that they appear to have struck a chord in both the general population and the medical community

    Yale Human Animal Medicine Project

    If common ancestors with worms, fish, and apes lie in our past, then Zoobiquity points the way to our future. The connections we share with the rest of life on our planet are a source of beauty and, in Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers’ luminous new account, the inspiration for an emerging and powerful approach to human health. Zoobiquity is a book that explodes barriers and myths all in the purpose of bettering the human condition.

    Neil Shubin, paleontologist and author of Your Inner Fish
  • Books by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Barbara Natterson-Horowitz travels from Los Angeles, CA

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