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Human Biology of Migration - SSHB 2016

30 Nov - 2 Dec 2016

The Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) is proud to host the 2016 annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Human Biology (SSHB). This year we look forward to welcoming an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners to discuss the effects of migration on human health, behaviour and well-being. 

Migration is a global phenomenon, involving the movement of people within (internal) and between (external) countries. The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly over the past fifteen years reaching 244 million in 2015, up from 222 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000 (UN International Migration Report 2015). Over the next forty years all the world’s population growth is expected to take place in urban areas as a result of rural-to-urban migration and natural growth (UN population Division, 2011). Understanding the human biology of migration will help us prepare for and tackle the myriad of opportunities and challenges posed by human migration. When supported by appropriate policies, migration can contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development in both home and host communities. Nevertheless, many migrants remain the most vulnerable members of society. Accurate and timely data on the patterns of migration, the demographics and health of migrant populations will hopefully improve not only understanding of human variability, behavioural ecology and health, but also assist us in, for example, developing migrant-sensitive health policies and practices.  

The aim of this international symposium is to bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners, including not only anthropologists and human biologists, but also researchers with a wide range of expertise and methodological backgrounds, including health, nutrition, demography and disease, to tackle questions around human migration.


Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Aarhus University, Buildings 1630-1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. See location on a map. 

Keynote speakers

Programme and abstracts

See the programme with abstracts here.

Wednesday, 30 November

15.00-15.45: Conference registration
15.45-16.00: Introduction to keynote lecture and official launch of SSHB 2016 symposium
16.00-17.00: Opening keynote - Prof. Michael Bang Petersen (Aarhus University): 'The Biology of anti-immigration politics', The opening keynote is free to attend and OPEN TO ALL (including members of the public).
17.15-19.00: Welcome reception open to all

Thursday, 1 December

08.30-09.00: Conference registration
09.00-09.05: Welcome: Morten Kyndrup, Director of AIAS
09.05-09.15: Introduction to SSHB 2016: Simon Underdown & Djuke Veldhuis
09.15-09.55: Keynote I: Yorgos Athanasiadis (Aarhus University): ‘High school students help unravel Denmark’s genetic past’
09.55-10.15: Simon Underdown (Oxford Brookes University): ‘Neanderthal Pathology as a Proxy for Human Success - Evidence of atypical or typical human hunter-gatherer movement? ’
10.15-10.35: Theya Molleson (Natural History Museum, London): ‘Those feet in Ancient Times’


11.00-11.20:  Marcello Mannino (Aarhus University): ‘Neolithic migrations and their health consequences for the first Mediterranean farmers’
11.20-12.00:  Keynote II: Charlotte Houldcroft (University of Cambridge): ‘Germs on a journey: what human pathogens can tell us about population movements and human evolution’
12.00-12.20:  Anna Rivara (University of South Florida) and Sabrina Paiva: ‘The interactions of immune functioning and fertility in American and Brazilian quilombo populations: determining how ecology and evolution are directing IgE profiles’


13.15-13.20:  Introduction to afternoon session
13.20 -14.00: Keynote III: Christian Wejse (Aarhus University): ‘Infectious Diseases in refugees and asylum seekers’
14.00-14.20:  Claudia Hartman (Oxford University): ‘The construction of unskilled care work: the case of migrant workers in social care for older people in the UK’
14.20-14.40: Laura Goodwin (Cardiff University): ‘Immigration and continuing inequalities in maternity outcomes; exploring the midwife-woman relationship for migrant Pakistani women in South Wales’

Coffee & cake

15.00-15.05: Introduction (please note change of schedule to afternoon session)
15.05-14.25: Luseadra McKerracher (Simon Fraser University), Mark Collard and Pablo Nepomnaschy: ‘Immigration affects at first birth and age at weaning in an indigenous Maya population from rural Guatemala’
15.25-17.00: Posters session (and wine reception)

19.30-22.30: Dinner at NO16 (Europaplads 16, 8000 Aarhus C 

Friday, 2 December

09.30-09.40: Introduction to Tanner Memorial Lecture 09.40-10.30: Tanner Memorial Lecture - Nick Mascie-Taylor (University of Cambridge): ‘From genes to latrines’

Morning coffee

10.55-11.15:  Marios Poullas (University College London), Jonathan Wells, Mark Saunders and Mario Cortina-Borja: ‘The association of El Nino Southern Oscillation with intra- and inter- generational changes in height and weight of people born in India’
11.15-11.35:  Helen Liversidge (Queen Mary University London) and Fadil Elamin: ‘A comparison of permanent mandibular molar timing in several African groups’
11.35-12.00:  Michael Hermanussen (University of Kiel), Christiane Scheffler and Barry Bogin: ‘As tall as my peers - similarity in body height between migrants and hosts’


13.00-13.10:  Introduction
13.10-13.50:  Keynote V: Sarah Salway (University of Sheffield): ‘Towards healthcare equity for migrant populations: conceptual and operational challenges’
13.50-15.00:  Discussion and closing remarks 

15.00-16.00 Closing reception, refreshment & snacks

Registration and fees

Please register online here by 22 November 2016.

SSHB is proud to provide extra support to graduate students for who the registration fee is £75. This includes lunches as well as coffee, tea and cakes. We’ve got a lovely dinner planned on Thursday night which SSHB is subsidising for graduate students. The dinner cost for graduate students is only £25 which will get you a three course meal including wine, beer, coffee etc. in one of Aarhus’ finest restaurants. 

The registration fee for non-members is £200. However, if you join the society (at a cost of £30), you can opt for the members registration fee at £150. This also includes lunches and coffee, tea, cake etc. Dinner for non-students costs an extra £40. 

  • Student registration - £75/ DKK 650
  • Student registration with dinner - £100/ DKK 875 
  • Member registration - £150/ DKK 1310
  • Member registration with dinner - £190/ DKK 1660
  • Non-member registration - £200/ DKK 1750
  • Non-member registration with dinner - £240/ DKK 2100

All fees include refreshments, lunch, coffee, tea, welcome reception and VAT of 25%.

Travel Awards

The Society for the Study of Human Biology (SSHB) is offering financial support (£750) for postgraduate students to attend and present at international conferences. It is anticipated that a maximum of two prizes will be made in 2016. For full details and instructions on how to submit entries please see the SSHB website here.

Deadline 15 October 2016.

Symposium dinner 

The dinner will be held on Thursday at 7:30 pm at NO16, Europaplads 16, 8000 Aarhus C (Distance from AIAS is 2 km, ~ 20 min walk). The dinner will include a three course meal and wine, beer, coffee etc. in one of Aarhus’ finest restaurants. 

Abstract submission: CLOSED

The program committee welcomes your abstracts for oral and poster presentations on all topics related to the human biology of migration from fields including, but not limited to, health, anthropology, human biology, demography, genetics, evolution, medicine, sociology, psychology, public policy. 

See guidelines and submit your abstract here.

Deadline: 21 October 2016.


The symposium has received support from the following: