Dr. Kathryn Clancy


Dr. Clancy is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. She is a human reproductive ecologist who specializes in women’s health, endometrial function and evolutionary medicine.

Trainees and staff

Postdoctoral associates

Michelle Purple Hair 300 DPI

Dr. Michelle Rodrigues, PhD. I am a biological anthropologist who studies stress, friendship, and social networks! I received my PhD from The Ohio State University, where I studied female spider monkeys to test the “tend and befriend”hypothesis, which posits that female friendship in humans evolved as a primate-wide coping mechanismto mediate stress. I followed this research with a project examining comparative social networks in chimpanzees and bonobos. My postdoctoral research with the Clancy Lab focuses on two major projects: 1) how parental relationships and female friendships impact mental health in adolescent girls, and 2) how gender and racial discrimination, as well as social support, impact mental health, physiological stress, and inflammation in female scientists. My research on female scientists is funded through a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship, the American Association for Physical Anthropologists Professional Development Grant, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Graduate students

Katie Lee, PhD candidate. I am interested in bone health in women of reproductive age. I focus on how physical activity and estrogen interact to affect bone in healthy adult women. I measure both bone density (which changes slowly) and biological markers of bone turnover.  Bone is broken down and rebuilt all the time in order to keep it healthy, and the bone turnover markers allow me to see how much building and dissolving is happening at the present time in women. Overall, my goal is to understand how normal women maintain their bones during their entire life.

Merri Wilson, PhD student. I am a biological anthropologist interested in how life experiences affect the health of gender minorities in America, specifically how life experiences (both positive and negative) impact biomarkers related to health outcomes, such as sex steroid hormones and inflammation. My past research includes studying the effects of acculturation on mental health outcomes and the effects of maternal stress on offspring hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function.

Current Undergraduates

Ifeoluwa Atunnise
Hayley Ban
Ashley Domar
Reilly Durham
Mariel Galvan
Bryana Rivera
Ohm Shukla
Fatima Soumare

Lab alums

Graduate alums

Isis Rose, MA 2019. Doula.



Dr. Talia Melber, PhD 2018. I am interested in sexual selection, mate choice, the relationship between hormones and behavior, and cognitive processes. My previous research has included investigating patterns of tool-use acquisition in great apes and studying potential behavioral cues used by female callitrichines to assess male mate quality. In the future I plan to utilize hormonal analyses to provide insight into various aspects of behavior and reproduction in primates.


Dr. Mary Rogers, PhD 2018 .Mary Rogers, Ph.D. 2018. I am biological anthropologist specializing in anthropological epigenetics and reproductive ecology. I conduct research on the connections between lived experiences and biological outcomes by investigating relationships between 1) historical trauma and gene methylation, 2) childhood stressors, epigenetic traits, and reproductive hormone variation, and 3) childhood social support and life history trait timing. I work in partnership with Alaska Native Peoples, Polish and Polish American women, and American adolescents in order to achieve these research goals. I have training in community-based research methods and aims for my research studies to benefit partner and scientific communities. I am currently a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. You can learn more about my research and teaching at: Google Scholar and my website

Summer Sanford, MA 2017.

Dr. Rodolfo Martinez-Mota, PhD 2016.  Google Scholar

Undergraduate Alums

Our undergraduate alums come from many departments! An (incomplete) list of majors and minors of students that have graduated from the Clancy Lab includes: Anthropology, Chemistry, Gender & Women’s Studies, Integrative Biology,  Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Psychology. 

Our undergrad alums continue on to do many different and cool things, including (but not limited to!): clinical research assistant, graduate school (bioengineering, human evolutionary biology, anthropology), medical school, and pharmacy school.

If you are an undergrad alum who wants to update us on your career or life (whether the details go on this webpage or not), please email Kate because she’d love to hear from you!