Dr Rebecca Sear – Principle Investigator


Contact Information:
LSHTM page 

A significant focus of my research is on the family; in particular, whether family influence fertility and child health. I’m also interested in exploring interactions between health and reproduction (how much does health explain reproduction and reproduction explain health?); and health inequalities. Initially my research was focused sub-Saharan Africa, but I am now interested in comparative work, testing the same hypotheses in a variety of ecological settings worldwide to establish their ecological variability.

Laura Brown – PhD student2014-10-31 13.56.37

Contact Information:
LSHTM page
Personal website

 Laura is exploring socioeconomic differentials in breastfeeding behaviour and is particularly interested in associations with environmental quality. She is interested in comparing objective and subjective measures of both the physical and sociocultural environment as well as seeing how these aspects interact with SES to affect womens’ infant feeding choices. A secondary objective of her work is to explore whether breastfeeding clusters together with other demographic traits such as age at first birth and fertility.

Anushé Hassan – PhD student

Contact Information:
LSHTM page

Anushé is researching relationships between father absence and child wellbeing, with a focus on the status of fostered and orphaned children in rural Tanzania. She conducted her PhD fieldwork in Kisesa Ward, Mwanza, Tanzania between July and November 2017, collecting quantitative and qualitative data on father absence, forms of paternal investment and child health outcomes (measured using anthropometrics). She is now analysing her data!

Sophie Hedges – PhD student

Contact Information:
Bloomsbury DTC page

Sophie is in the final year of her PhD researching parental investment in child education and trade-offs between children’s work and schooling, in the context of the demographic transition and changing livelihoods. She collected time allocation from children living in the Mwanza region of Tanzania in 2016. Her first paper focused on gender and rural/urban differences in children’s work patterns, and future papers are investigating the effects of birth order and household composition, and whether orphaned and fostered children are disadvantaged compared to others. Follow Sophie’s blog:

Estelle McLean – PhD student

Contact Information:

Estelle works for the Karonga Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in Northern Malawi and is undertaking her PhD part-time using this rich longitudinal data source to examine changing childhood and adolescent family structures and living arrangements, and their effect on puberty and reproductive outcomes.

Alyce Raybould – PhD student

Contact Information:
LSHTM page

Alyce’s work focuses on the effect of household division of labour on childbearing intentions, and fulfilment of those intentions in high income countries.

Dugald Foster – MSc student

Contact Information:

Dugald is researching the evolution of early marriage and intergenerational reproductive conflict, using theory and methods from evolutionary demography, behavioural ecology and cultural evolution. He has fieldwork experience in Nepal, and is interested in applying evolutionary thinking to development practice.

Rose Stevens – MSc Student

Contact Information:

Rose is interested in taking an evolutionary public health approach to contraceptive discontinuation due to side-effects, particularly in Ethiopia, by exploring the potential mismatch between women’s levels of endogenous reproductive hormones in certain socioecological settings and the dosage of hormonal contraception.



Dr. David Lawson
Assistant Professor, Dept Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr. Cristina Moya
Assistant Professor, Dept Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Dr. Susie Schaffnit
Research Fellow, University of California Santa Barbara
Dr. Paula Sheppard
Research Fellow, Oxford University
Dr. Kristin Snopkowski
Assistant Professor, Boise State University, Idaho
Dr. Gert Stulp
Research Fellow, University of Groningen
Dr. Sandra Virgo
Research Fellow, LSHTM