Exploring the natural world.
Innovating for human health.
Cardiologist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is redrawing the boundaries of human medicine.
When the Los Angeles Zoo called her to consult on animal patients in 2005, she recognized a parallel world of health challenges including heart disease, cancer and mental illness in other species. The experience launched Natterson-Horowitz on a scientific journey into the realm of wild animals and wild places and toward research revealing important connections between human and animal health.
Pushing against the barriers between veterinary and human medicine, Natterson-Horowitz pioneered Zoobiquity, a new species-spanning approach to health that recognizes the natural world as a powerful source of lifesaving insights for human health.
Her bestselling books and global Zoobiquity conferences have brought together thousands of physicians, veterinarians, wildlife experts and evolutionary biologists, leading to dozens of collaborations aimed at inspiring new approaches to modern medicine. Her studies have uncovered roadmaps for solving human health challenges – from heart failure and breast cancer to anxiety disorders and infertility.
“Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz exemplifies Darwin's spirit in making connections to figure out what's true. She has created a whole new field at the intersection of evolutionary biology, human medicine and veterinary medicine."
– Dr. Randolph Nesse, The Center for Evolution and Medicine
Photo credit: Crystal Lily Photography @crystallily.co
Redefining the boundary between animal and human medicine
Natterson-Horowitz's research turns to the animal world for insights into human health. She has pioneered a new scientific lens that can find solutions to human health challenges in nature. Her research and published papers on heart disease, cancer, mental illness, women's health and more; her award-winning courses at Harvard and UCLA; and her New York Times bestselling book Zoobiquity have inspired scholars and universities around the world to host Zoobiquity Conferences to help other health professionals to identify medical solutions in nature.
In 2018, after reading Zoobiquity, a Nobel Committee member petitioned the Nobel Assembly to select bio-inspired medicine as the theme of its 2019 Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. In her keynote address, Natterson-Horowitz called for medical colleagues to become engaged in protecting global biodiversity, an invaluable and irreplaceable source of insights for the health of all species.
Partnering with naturalist and science writer Kathryn Bowers (also a Zoobiquity co-author) Natterson-Horowitz's most recent book, Wildhood, turns to the animal world for insights into human adolescence. An Editor’s Pick by the New York Times Book Review, Wildhood won a Book of the Year Award from the Association for Science Education.
Natterson-Horowitz holds faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and its Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, where she teaches courses on Zoobiquity. She is a professor of Medicine/Cardiology at UCLA, served as President of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, and continues as a cardiovascular consultant to the Los Angeles Zoo.
Photo credit: Crystal Lily Photography