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Velcome to postdoc Djuke Veldhuis

Using cross-cultural comparisons, physiological and psychological stress measures, she is examining the costs and limits of adaptation, including the effect of modernization, in European and African populations.

2014.10.01 | Pernille Thorsen

Djuke Veldhuis

Djuke Veldhuis

Djuke’s research spans the fields of anthropology, psychology and endocrinology. She is passionate about understanding how humans adapt to our rapidly changing world.

Combining methods from evolutionary anthropology, endocrinology, human ecology, ethnography, psychology and neuroimmunology, the aim is to build a comprehensive picture of the human stress response in various human populations in Northern Kenya and Denmark. Being frequently ranked as one of the happiest in the world, the Danish provide a good contrast with populations in the Turkana basin in Kenya currently undergoing rapid cultural change.

Extrapolating environmental from social influences is notoriously difficult. However, without interdisciplinary research venturing to look at this bigger picture we risk being like the doctor who puts a bandage over a wound without asking why it is bleeding in the first place. By understanding what attributes make individuals resilient to cultural and environmental changes, we are better placed to elucidate the human condition and minimize the impact of stressors in our lives.

The key objectives for this three-year research project are to 1) build up a physiological profile of stress, via cortisol and blood pressure measurements; and 2) assess behavioural responses to and psychological indicators of stressors amongst urban and rural populations in Denmark and Kenya. These data will be 3) evaluated to consider the evolutionary context in which the human stress response evolved.

Djuke is a passionate science communicator and can be often be found engaging the public in her efforts to bridge the gap between academic research and society. When not conducting research or talking about science she is outdoors in the mountains or underground exploring cave systems.

She is also affiliated with the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) and welcomes interdisciplinary collaborations so please get in touch if you have any questions or want to find out more.

Email: Djukev@aias.au.dk

Twitter: @DjukeVeldhuis

Human adaptation