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Jessica F Brinkworth

Profile picture for Jessica F Brinkworth

Contact Information

109 Davenport Hall
607 S. Matthews Ave.
M/C 148
Urbana, IL 61801

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Evolution of primate immunity, innate immunity, severe bacterial infections, sepsis, plague, Toxoplasma, host-pathogen interactions, immunogenomics, evolutionary medicine

Research Description

My research addresses the physiological consequences of the human experience and evolutionary past, particularly those that affect innate immune system function.  Current projects focus on the functional divergence and diversification of primate immune systems, how past epidemics affect present day immune function diversity and how life experienceaffects the innate immune response.


2012, PhD, City University of New York Graduate Center, Anthropology

Awards and Honors

2013-2015 Quebec Network of Applied Genetic Medicine (RGMA) Fellow

Courses Taught

ANTH 241 - Human Variation and Race
ANTH 499 - Topics in Anthropology (Evolution and Ecology of Immune Systems)/Evolutionary Immunology
ANTH 249 - Evolution and Human Disease
ANTH 499 - Topics in Anthropology (Anthropological Functional Genomics lab)
ANTH 499 - Topics in Anthropology (Anthropological Functional Genomics lab)
ANTH 499 - Topics in Anthropology (Anthropological Functional Genomics lab)

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Affiliate, Center for Social and Behavioral Science
Faculty Fellow, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Recent Publications

Heiman, S. L., Hirt, E. R., Isch, C., Brinkworth, J. F., Cronk, L., Alcock, J., Aktipis, A., & Todd, P. M. (2023). Identities as predictors of vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Social Issues, 79(2), 556-577.

Brinkworth, J. F., & Shaw, J. G. (2022). On race, human variation, and who gets and dies of sepsis. American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 178(S74), 230-255.

Brinkworth, J. F., & Rusen, R. M. (2022). SARS-CoV-2 Is Not Special, but the Pandemic Is: The Ecology, Evolution, Policy, and Future of the Deadliest Pandemic in Living Memory. Annual Review of Anthropology, 51, 527-548.

Klunk, J., Vilgalys, T. P., Demeure, C. E., Cheng, X., Shiratori, M., Madej, J., Beau, R., Elli, D., Patino, M. I., Redfern, R., DeWitte, S. N., Gamble, J. A., Boldsen, J. L., Carmichael, A., Varlik, N., Eaton, K., Grenier, J. C., Golding, G. B., Devault, A., ... Barreiro, L. B. (2022). Evolution of immune genes is associated with the Black Death. Nature, 611(7935), 312-319.

Brinkworth, J. F., & Valizadegan, N. (2021). Sepsis and the evolution of human increased sensitivity to lipopolysaccharide. Evolutionary anthropology, 30(2), 141-157.

View all publications on Illinois Experts