Dr Simon Underdown, BSc, PhD (Cantab), PCTHE, CSciTeach, FSA, FRSB, FRGS, FRAI, FCPS, SFHEA

Twitter @sunderdown

I am Reader in Biological Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University where I teach, research and write on human evolution. My research focusses on the co-evolution of humans and disease and how patterns of human-disease interaction in the past can be used to reconstruct human evolutionary patterns and processes. ​I’m especially interested ​in the role played by diseases in shaping the adaptive environment during human evolution and the impact of disease exchange during contact between hominin species.  I’ve undertaken fieldwork across the world including South America, the Middle East & especially southern Africa. I am passionate about science education (I am a Chartered Science Teacher and Chair of the RAI’s Education Committee) and communication, and have appeared on a large range of radio and television programmes discussing aspects of human evolution and the latest finds and developments in the subject. I have written for the Guardian on a number of contemporary issues in science, including climate change, creationism, religious belief and the use of human remains in research. I am an avid book reviewer and have written reviews for numerous publications, including History Today, JRAI, TREE, and the THES. I am a member of council of the Royal Anthropological Institute and I was Vice President between 2012-15. I am a former Chair (and current committee member) of the Society for the Study of Human Biology, a member of the QAA Anthropology subject bench-marking panel and a Research Associate of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford.

Reader in Biological Anthropology

Human Origins and Palaeo-Environments 

Research Group (HOPE)

Dept. of Social Sciences

Oxford Brookes University

Headington Campus


OX3 0BP 



Tel  +44 (0)1865 483718

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time

TS Eliot