Connie Mulligan is interested in understanding patterns of human genetic variation with implications for human health and evolution. Her lab analyzes genetic variation in order to investigate genetic contributions to health and disease and to reconstruct human evolutionary history. The lab investigates genetic, epigenetic, biological, psycho-social and socio-cultural data in order to create the most comprehensive picture of blood pressure variation (African Americans living in Tallahassee, FL) and the impact of stress on health outcomes (new mothers and their newborns in the Democratic Republic of Congo) and genetic and epigenetic signatures of stress and trauma (Syrian refugees in Jordan). For the study of population history, Connie's lab assays genetic variants in order to provide the most complete representation of human evolution.
Areas of Expertise (12)
Impact of Stress
Influence of Genetics on Response to Trauma and Stress
Human Evolution and Migration out of Africa and in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Effects of Maternal Trauma on Maternal and Infant Health
Risk and Resilience
Media Appearances (5)
Behavioral Finance Becoming a Game Changer
In “Investment Menu Design that Improves Retirement Readiness,” Matthew Gnabasik, Connie Mulligan and Neal Smith suggest that new approaches are transforming the way retirement plan assets are managed and invested. Gnabasik and Mulligan are partners at Cerity Partners; Smith is a principal there.
How genes and resilience affect Syrian refugee stress
UF News online
“But why are some people better at dealing with stressful and traumatic events?” asked Connie Mulligan, anthropological genetics professor at the University of Florida and principal investigator on the paper. “Is it genetic? Is it environmental?”
Ancient Americans arrived in a single wave, Alaskan infant's genome suggests
American Association for the Advancement of Science online
That supports the idea that Asian migrants lingered in Beringia and became genetically isolated—the so-called Beringian standstill model—says anthropologist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "Because they have the whole nuclear genome, you can really tell a lot about when and where this migration happened," she says. But Reich cautions that date estimates from a single genome are necessarily rough.
Study shows discrimination interacts with genetics and affects health
UF News online
The researchers also measured vicarious unfair treatment, or experiences of discrimination by close friends and family to the study participant. They were surprised to discover that study participants were more significantly impacted by unfair treatment of close family members or friends than when they experienced discrimination firsthand, said Connie Mulligan, a professor with appointments at UF’s department of anthropology and Genetics Institute.
Knowing Someone Who Faced Discrimination May Affect Blood Pressure
The genetic markers "seem to interact with" being close to someone who has experienced racial discrimination, says Connie Mulligan, an anthropologist at the University of Florida who published the findings in the journal PLoS ONE on Wednesday.
Race reconciled II: Interpreting and communicating biological variation and race in 2021American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Jennifer A. Raff and Connie J. Mulligan
The social upheaval that has come to define 2020 highlights the need for a continuing conversation on race and racism in bioanthropology. The COVID-19 pandemic was immeasurably worsened by structural racism and economic inequalities that contribute to persistent and pervasive racial health disparities. The killing of George Perry Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police ignited global protests about police brutality targeted to minority populations.
Systemic racism can get under our skin and into our genesAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Connie J. Mulligan
Many sociocultural factors, like poverty and trauma, or homelessness versus a safe neighborhood, can get “under our skin” and affect our lives. These factors may also get “into our genes” through epigenetic changes that influence how genes are expressed. Changes in gene expression can further influence how we respond to sociocultural factors and how those factors impact our physical and mental health, creating a feedback loop between our sociocultural environment and our genome.
Dehydroepiandrosterone at birth: Response to stress and relation to demographic, pregnancy and delivery factorsJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Hayley S. Kamin, et al.
Enhanced production of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) by the foetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis enables maturational events critical for labour induction and neonatal adaptation. Despite knowledge of the interconnected nature of maternal and foetal physiology and dramatic changes in DHEA production after birth, few studies have examined DHEA levels in newborns and none have examined DHEA’s response to acute stress.
Response to letters to the editor concerning AJPA commentary on “data sharing in biological anthropology: Guiding principles and best practices”American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Doug M. Boyer, et al.
This response addresses several Letters to the Editor (LTEs) that provided feedback on the 2019 AJPA Commentary “Data Sharing in Biological Anthropology: Guiding Principles and Best Practices” authored by C. J. M. and T. T. All of those who participated in the 2019 Workshop on Data Sharing in Biological Anthropology were shown a draft of the current document and had an opportunity to provide feedback before publication.
Shortened telomere length is associated with unfair treatment attributed to race in African Americans living in Tallahassee, FloridaAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Peter H. Rej, et al.
Experiences of interpersonal discrimination are pervasive stressors in the lives of African Americans. Increased discrimination stress may cause premature aging. Telomere length (TL) is a plastic genetic trait that is an emerging indicator of cellular health and aging. Short TL is a risk factor for the earlier onset of disease. TL shortens with age, a process that may be accelerated by psychosocial stress.