2015 CARTA Symposium Lectures

2015 CARTA Symposium on The Unique Features of Human Skin




The skin is the major interface between the human body and its environment.  It supports diverse and complex functions from protection to vitamin photosynthesis, thermoregulation, and communication.  Although the structure and function of human skin have been well characterized, the evolution of human skin remains inadequately understood. Great strides have been realized in the study of the evolution of skin pigmentation, but the evolution of functional nakedness, humans’ prodigious ability to sweat, and the origins of the human breast (the body’s largest modified sweat gland) are still largely matters of conjecture. The skin’s microbiome is emerging as one of most important factors in maintaining barrier functions, but much remains to be discovered about its diversity and roles in health and disease.  How can the many gaps in our knowledge of the evolution of human skin be closed?  This symposium will bring together scientists representing evolutionary biology, genetics, dermatology, anthropology, and physiology to share their knowledge and questions about human skin in an explicitly evolutionary framework.




(abstracts and videos available at the links below)

Skin, a Window Into the Evolution of the Human Super-Organism, by Richard Gallo

The Genetics of Skin Pigmentation, by Mark Shriver

The Skin and Ultraviolet Radiation: Effects on DNA and Carcinogenesis, by James Cleaver

Human Skin: Sweating, Thermoregulation, and Water Balance, by Michael Sawka

Ecology and Evolution of the Skin Microbiome, by Rob Knight

Of Lice and Men: The Molecular Evolution of Human Lice, by Mark Stoneking

Subcutaneous Fat in Humans, by Chris Kuzawa

Evolution of Hair Follicles, Mammary Glands, and Sweat Glands in Humans and Other Mammals, by Sarah E. Miller

Naked, Colorful Skin and Its Role in Human Social Interactions, by Nina Jablonski

Wrap Up Questions and Closing Remarks, all speakers