Eva Garrett

Faculty Profiles

Eva Garrett

Assistant Professor

J. Davidson
Office: 675 Commonwealth Ave, Rm 247C
Office Phone: 617-353-5016
E-Mail: garrette@bu.edu

Fall 2018: T 1:00-3:00, by appointment

Dr. Eva Garrett is a biological anthropologist with a broad interest in the evolution of sensory systems in primates, particularly the sense of smell. Her research integrates diverse fields including comparative anatomy, genomics, and paleontology to understand how humans and our non-human primate relatives have evolved our unique sensory adaptations.
Olfaction guides many animals to food sources and allows them to discriminate between edible and inedible foods. The same has probably been true for humans throughout our evolutionary history. Agriculture and industrialization have changed the ways in which humans acquire and assess foods, so it is likely that selection on the sensory systems important in food procurement have changed in response. Dr. Garrett is collaborating with scientists at the University of Calgary, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Texas at Austin to analyze differences between olfactory receptor repertoires in six populations of rainforest Hunter-Gatherers and neighboring Agriculturalists in Africa and Asia. Targeted sequencing of sensory receptor genes across these populations may reveal levels of selection related to foraging strategy, as well as reveal adaptations to local environments.
Dr. Garrett is also passionate about testing evolutionary hypotheses related to a trade-off between smell and vision in primate evolution. She currently working on projects that address primate sensory trade-off by integrating genomic data and morphological variation in the sensory systems. Dr. Garrett is integrating findings from the anatomy of primate fossils to understand timing and context for some of these major changes in primate sensory landscapes.