Monica H. Keith, Ph.D.


  • I am a Biological Anthropologist and Data Scientist who studies longitudinal health and child growth in a biosocial framework. I use Bayesian models to assess predictors of growth and health outcomes, and my research integrates health, socio-ecological, and genetic data to study human variation and health disparities in diverse contexts.



    I work with three ongoing field studies in Dominica, Bangladesh, and Argentina researching health, growth, and biodemography in rural and Indigenous populations. I have also begun working with data from the NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to address disparities in reproductive and maternal health in the US.


    Monica H. Keith

    Assistant Professor

    Vanderbilt University

    Department of Anthropology

    Nashville, TN 37235



    Appointments and Education

    2020-22 Postdoc, University of Washington

    2014-20 PhD, University of Missouri

    2012-14 MA, University of Missouri

    2009-12 BS, Texas State University








    Saint David, Dominica

    [Genetic Project Lead]

    Population genetics, quantitative genetics, GWAS of cardiometabolic traits, admixture mapping, impacts of colonialism in the Caribbean

    Matlab, Bangladesh


    Child growth and development, impacts of household economic strategies, women's productive work, parental investment, climate effects on health

    Formosa, Argentina


    Infant and child growth, impacts of birth mode and breastfeeding, biomarkers and life history transitions

  • Publications

    Keith MH, Martin MA. (in review). Racialized/ethnic disparities in pathways linking social determinants of health, markers of allostatic load, and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy among nulliparous US women.


    Starkweather KE, Keith MH, Zohora F, Alam N. 2022. Economic impacts and nutritional outcomes of the 2017 floods in Bangladeshi Shodagor fishing families. American Journal of Human Biology: Extreme Climatic Events and Human Biology & Health [Special Issue], 10:e23826. [pdf]


    Martin MA, Keith MH, Pace RM, Smith JE, Ley S, Barbosa-Leiker C, Caffe B, Smith CB, Kunkle A, Lackey KA, Navarette AD, Pace CDW, Gogel AC, Eisenberg D, Fehrenkamp B, McGuire MA, McGuire SK, Meehan CL, Brindle E. 2022. SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody trajectories in mothers and infants over two months following maternal infection. Frontiers in Immunology, 13, 1015002. [pdf]


    Martin MA, Keith MH, Olmedo S, Edwards D, Barrientes A, Pan A, Valeggia C. 2022. Cesarean section and breastfeeding outcomes in an Indigenous Qom community with high breastfeeding support. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health 10(1): eoab045. [pdf]


    Keith MH, Flinn MV, Durbin HJ, Rowan TN, Blomquist GE, Taylor KH, Taylor JF, Decker JE. 2021. Genetic ancestry, admixture, and population structure in rural Dominica. PLOS One 16(11): e0258735. [pdf]


    Starkweather KE, Keith MH, Prall SP, Alam N, Zohora F, Emery Thompson M. 2021. Are fathers a good substitute for mothers? Paternal care and growth rates in Shodagor children. Developmental Psychobiology: Comparative Perspectives on Paternal Effects [Special Issue]. PMID: 34087947. [pdf]


    Keith MH, Blomquist GE, Flinn MV. 2019. Anthropometric heritability and child growth in a Caribbean village: A quantitative genetic analysis of longitudinal height, weight, and BMI in Bwa Mawego, Dominica. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 170:393–403. [pdf]


    Starkweather KE, Keith MH. 2019. One piece of the matrilineal puzzle: the socioecology of maternal uncle investment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: The evolution of female-biased kinship in humans and other mammals [Special Issue] 374:20180071. [pdf]


    Starkweather KE, Keith MH. 2018. Estimating impacts of the nuclear family and heritability of nutritional outcomes in a boat-dwelling community. American Journal of Human Biology 30: e23105. [pdf]


    Ahsan MH, Blomquist GE. 2015. Modeling variation in early life mortality in the western lowland gorilla: genetic, maternal and other effects. American Journal of Primatology 77: 666–678. [pdf]