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Randolph Nesse

Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Professor of Life Sciences, Foundation Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Biography

Dr. Randolph M. Nesse investigates evolutionary explanations for traits that leave bodies vulnerable to disease. In particular, he studies how selection shapes mechanisms that regulate defenses, especially negative emotions. He is also committed to developing organizational and educational resources for evoltionary medicine.

Before coming to ASU in 2014 Nesse had a long career at the University of Michigan, in the Department of Psychiatry, the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Social Research. He directed the Evolution and Human Adaptation Program there for many years. 

He  is the Founding Director of the ASU Center for Evolution & Medicine. Center initiatives include producing research that demonstrates the power of evolutionary biology to address problems in medicine and public health, developing new courses, and holding conferences and workshops. Nesse teaches courses in evolution and medicine, as well as evolution and mental health.n

His new book, Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry uses many case studeis and the principles of evolutionary medicine to suggest ways to advance psychiatric research and treatment.

Education

BA, 1970 Carleton College

MD, 1974, University of Michigan Medical School

Videos
Videos by Randolph Nesse
Research Interests

Evolutionary applications to medicine and public health.

Signal detection theory applied to the evolution of mechanisms that regulate defense expression.

Th eevolutionary functions and regualtion of emotions, especially negative emotions like anxiety and depression 

The origins of altruism, especially via social selection. 

Evolutionary psychiatry and the origins of mental illness.

Publications
  • Nesse RM: Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry. Dutton (Penguin Random House), NY, 2019.
  • Nesse RM, Williams GC: Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine, Vintage Books, New York, 1994
  • Aktipis A, Nesse R, Evolutionary foundations for cancer biology.  Evolutionary Applications, 6 (1):144–159, 2013.
  • Nesse RM. Ten questions for evolutionary studies of disease vulnerability. Evolutionary Applications, 4(2):264-77, 2011.
  • Nesse RM, Ellsworth PC. Evolution, emotions, and emotional disorders. American Psychologist, 64(2):129-39, 2009.
  • Nesse RM, Stein DJ. Towards a genuinely medical model for psychiatric nosology. BMC Med;10(1):5, 2012, doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-5, 2012.

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  • Fried, E. I., & Nesse, R. M. Depression is not a consistent syndrome: An investigation of unique symptom patterns in the STAR* D study. Journal of affective disorders (2015).
  • Carr D, Sonnega J, Nesse RM, House JS. Do Special Occasions Trigger Psychological Distress among Older Bereaved Spouses? An Empirical Assessment of Clinical Wisdom. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 69 (1), 113-122, 2014 (2014).
  • Fried, E. I., & Nesse, R. M. The Impact of Individual Depressive Symptoms on Impairment of Psychosocial Functioning. PLoS ONE, 9(2), e90311, 2014 (2014).
  • Fried, E. I., Nesse, R. M., Zivin, K., Guille, C., & Sen, S. Depression is more than the sum score of its parts: individual DSM symptoms have different risk factors. Psychological Medicine, 44(10), 2067-2076, 2014 (2014).
  • Nesse, RM. Comment: A General ''Theory of Emotion'' Is Neither Necessary nor Possible. Emotion Review (2014).
Research Activity
  • Nesse,Randolph Martin*. Graduate Student Fellowship in Evolutionary Medicine. DUKE UNIV(9/1/2015 - 1/31/2016).
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 493Honors Thesis
PSY 494Special Topics
ASM 494Special Topics
BIO 494Special Topics
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 598Special Topics
BIO 598Special Topics
ASM 598Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 494Special Topics
BIO 494Special Topics
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 591Seminar
ASB 591Seminar
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 189Life Sciences Career Paths
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 494Special Topics
BIO 494Special Topics
PSY 494Special Topics
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 598Special Topics
BIO 598Special Topics
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 790Reading and Conference
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 494Special Topics
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 591Seminar
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
ASM 790Reading and Conference
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
ASM 590Reading and Conference
BIO 591Seminar
ASM 591Seminar
Service
  • George C Williams Prize, Organizer (2015 - Present)
  • Center for Evolution and Medicine, Director (2014 - Present)
  • Omenn Prize, Organizer (2013 - Present)
  • International Society for Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health, Founding President (2012 - Present)
  • The Evolution and Medicine Review, Editor (2007 - Present)