About Me

Elizabeth A. Holdsworth:
A biocultural anthropologist exploring
the social and cultural shaping of human biology

As a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the University of Albany, I research biocultural anthropology while teaching a variety of courses in anthropology. I believe anthropology is an indispensable discipline to help all people understand the shaping of human biology and health by sociocultural factors, and I aim to help people gain this knowledge through direct instruction and through my contributions to biocultural anthropological research.


My research focuses on how culture affects human health, particularly health disparities and psychosocial stress. I explore how sociocultural constructions such as inequality become embodied and affect human biology for generations through alterations in the growth and development of physiological systems. My research interests include:

  • Developmental Origins of Health
  • Psychosocial stress
  • Infant growth and development
  • Transgenerational health disparities
  • Epigenetic mechanisms
  • Gender and immigration


My primary objectives in teaching are using active learning to apply anthropological concepts to students’ own lives and gain widely-applicable knowledge in how evolutionary human biology and culture interact. Some of my teaching accomplishments include:

Created an asynchronous online course

Developed and taught Physical Growth and Development, a discussion-based course that encouraged students to learn and evaluate concepts of growth, including reading and critiquing scientific articles.

Taught students how to identify human skeletal remains

Designed labs for students to apply forensic anthropology methods and recording standards, culminating in students providing a full, professional-level biological profile of skeletal remains.

Collaborated with the Women’s Studies Teaching Collective

Supervised undergraduate instructors of Introduction to Feminisms in leading a discussion-based course that encouraged students to make connections between class concepts and personal lives.

Curriculum Vitae

2020 Ph.D., Anthropology, State University of New York at Albany.
Dissertation: Maternal Immigration Stress and Infant Stress Response. Professor Lawrence Schell, Chair.
2013 M.A., Anthropology, State University of New York at Albany.
M.A. Paper: “Infant Growth and Maternal Involvement.”
2010 B.A., Anthropology, State University of New York College at Geneseo, summa cum laude

Holdsworth, E. A., & Appleton, A.A. In review. Adverse childhood experiences and reproductive strategies in a contemporary United States population. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Appleton, A. A., Kiley, K., Holdsworth, E. A., & Schell, L. M. 2019. Social support during pregnancy modifies the association between maternal adverse childhood experiences and infant birth size. Maternal and Child Health Journal.
Holdsworth, E.A. & Schell, L.M. 2018. Stunting. in The International Encyclopedia of Biological Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.
Holdsworth, E.A. & Schell, L.M. 2017. Maternal-infant interaction as an influence on infant adiposity. American Journal of Human Biology, 29(5), e23023.
Appleton, A.A., Holdsworth, E.A., & Kubzansky, L.D. 2016. A systematic review of the interplay between social determinants and environmental exposures for early-life outcomes. Current Environmental Health Reports:1-15.
Appleton, A.A., Holdsworth, E.A., Ryan, M., & Tracy, M. 2016. Measuring childhood adversity in life course cardiovascular research: A systematic review. Psychosomatic Medicine.
Appleton, A.A., Holdsworth, E.A., & Ingle, M. 2016. Epigenetic alterations to NR3C1 and HSD11B2 and the developmental origins of mental disease risk. In D. Spengler & E. Binder (Eds.), Epigenetics and Neuroendocrinology – Clinical Focus on Psychiatry. Springer International Publishing.

Holdsworth E. #Review: Gender and Genetics: Sociology of the Prenatal. Allegra. 2017. Available from: http://allegralaboratory.net/review-gender-and-genetics-sociology-of-the-prenatal/

Local challenges and sources of resilience among migrant mothers in a semi-rural region in New York State. In the SUNTA Panel Session “Intersections of care and wellbeing with resilience and adaptation in the migrant experience."
Elizabeth A. Holdsworth. American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, San Jose, CA. November 18, 2018

Gestational HPA-related DNA methylation is associated with maternal adverse childhood experiences, depression during pregnancy, and child growth and neurobehavior at 24 months
Allison A. Appleton and Elizabeth A. Holdsworth. U.S. Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Conference, Chapel Hill, NC. October 1-2, 2018.

Effects of early life stress on physiological responses to chronic and acute stress in midlife in the United States.
Elizabeth. A. Holdsworth. Human Biology Association Annual Meeting, Austin, TX. April 12-13, 2018.

Adverse childhood experiences predict faster reproductive strategies and development.
Elizabeth A. Holdsworth and Allison A. Appleton. American Association of Physical Anthropologists Annual Meeting, Austin, TX. April 13-16, 2018.

Maternal experiences of childhood adversity are associated with age at menarche and offspring asymmetric fetal growth.
Elizabeth A. Holdsworth, Lawrence M. Schell, and Allison A. Appleton. U.S. Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Conference, Detroit, MI. September 25-27, 2017.

Maternal early life adverse experiences and birth outcomes.
E.A. Holdsworth and A.A. Appleton. Annual Meetings of the Human Biology Association, New Orleans, LA. April 19-20, 2017

Acculturation and Depression Among Hispanic and Asian Americans.
Annual Meetings of the Human Biology Association, St. Louis, MO. March 25-26, 2015.

Infant Fatness and Mother’s Engagement.
E.A. Holdsworth and L.M. Schell. Annual Meetings of the Human Biology Association, Calgary, Canada. April 9-10, 2014.

Poverty of Environment, Poverty of Development: Intergenerational Pathways of Poor Health in Disadvantaged US Children.
L.M. Schell, J. Ravenscroft, E. Holdsworth. In the symposium, Can the future escape the past: Biosocial factors in the reproduction of poverty. Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, November 20-24, 2013.

Instructor at University at Albany, SUNY
2018-2019, Migration and Human Biology
2015-2019, Physical Growth and Development
Summer 2014, Forensic Anthropology
Spring 2013, Women’s Studies: Introduction to Feminisms
(with Women’s Studies Teaching Collective)

Teaching Assistant at University at Albany, SUNY
Fall 2013 and 2017, Human Growth and Development - Graded assignments, assisted students, guest lectures
Spring 2017, Introduction to Human Evolution - Led two lab sections, instructed students in labs and graded lab assignments
Fall 2016, Human Population Biology - graded assignments and assisted students, led lecture on growth and development
2014-2016, Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II - Led two lab sections per course, instructed students on labs and graded lab assignments
Spring 2014, Aztecs, Incas, Mayas - Graded assignments, assisted students

2015-2019 Albany Infant and Mother Study (AIMS), PI Dr. Allison Appleton - Research Assistant
Recruitment, data collection, study management, data analysis, manuscript preparation

2018 New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute Office of Program Evaluation and Research - Research Intern
Conducted focus groups and evaluated data on Hepatitis C knowledge, conducted literature reviews, developed materials for conference presentations

2015-2016 Orkney Demography Study, PI Dr. Julia Jennings - Research Assistant
Reviewed 19th century census data from Orkney islands to link persons for demographic analysis

2013-2014 Center for Elimination of Minority Health Disparities – Research Assistant
Entering and editing dataset, literature reviews, assistance in conceptualizing plans for a research grant

2016-present, Amsterdam Minority Health Task Force, Member
2018 Student Anthropologist Book Review Editor
2018 National Association of Student Anthropologists E-Journal Committee Member
Ocobock, Cara and Christopher Lynn, hosts. “SoS7: Of Goldilocks & Baby Fat in birth Weight: Chat with Liz Holdsworth & Larry Schell.” Sausage of Science Podcast, Human Biology Association, 26 Feb. 2018.
2015-2016, University at Albany Anthropology Graduate Student Organization, President
*Awarded Recognized Graduate Student Organization of the Year by the Graduate Student Association
2014-2015, University at Albany Anthropology Graduate Student Organization, Webmaster
2013-2014, University at Albany Anthropology Graduate Student Organization, Secretary
2013, University at Albany Graduate Student Association Grants Reviewer
2012-2013, University at Albany Campus Recreation, Recreation Coordinator
2012-2013, New York State Museum Osteology Lab, Volunteer

2019 University at Albany Benevolent Association Research Grant
2018 University at Albany Graduate Student Association Research Development Award
2017 US DOHaD Society Registration Award
2017 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, Cultural Anthropology. (Award ID: 1729258)
2016 GSEU Professional Development Award
2015 Karen R. Hitchcock New Frontiers Fund Award through Initiatives for Women
2015 Human Biology Association Student Member Travel Award
2014-2018 University at Albany Graduate Association Professional Development Grant

Future Faculty and Teaching Development Certificate, Institute for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Leadership (In Progress)
French: Reading excellent, writing proficient, speaking conversational
Spanish: Proficient in reading, writing, and conversation
Statistics programs: R, SPSS, SAS
Geographic Information System programs: ArcGIS, QGIS, GeoDa
Web Design: HTML5
Imaging programs: Adobe Photoshop, Gimp

Human Biology Association Student Member
American Association of Physical Anthropologists Student Member
American Anthropological Association Student Member
The United States Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Trainee Member
Lamb Alpha Anthropology Honor Society
Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society
Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society