Tara Robins, Ph.D.

Tara Robins

Tara Robins, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


I am interested in using novel and integrative methods to test the Hygiene Hypothesis and Disappearing Microbiota Hypothesis, which posit that decreased exposure in parasites and bacterial diversity, respectively, have resulted in the increase in allergic and autoimmune disorders that we are seeing in economically developed nations. Specifically, my research explores how social and economic change alters parasite exposure and bacterial diversity and how this change contributes to immune dysregulation among the Shuar of Amazonian Ecuador. I am interested in combining technologies from microbiology, genetics, and anthropology in order to understand the role that bacterial and helminth exposure plays in normal human immune function.

Other research interests include Evolutionary Medicine, disgust psychology as a mechanism for pathogen avoidance, circumpolar adaptation and health, processes and mechanisms related to the development of atopic disorders, endocrine and cardiovascular health, immunology, psychosocial stress, skeletal biology and physical activity.


PhD: University of Oregon (2015)
MSc: University of Oregon (2009)
BA: Marquette University (2007)

Select Publications

Cepon-Robins TJ, Gildner TE, Liebert MA, Colehour AM, Urlacher SS, Snodgrass JJ, Madimenos FC, Sugiyama LS. 2014. Soil-transmitted helminths prevalence and infection intensity among geographically and economically distinct Shuar communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. J Parasitol 100(5): 598-607.

Cepon TJ, Snodgrass JJ, Leonard WR, Tarskaia LA, Klimova TM, Fedorova VI, Baltakhinova ME, Krivoshapkin VG. 2011. The effects of circumpolar adaptation and lifestyle on the development of autoimmune thyroid disorders among the Yakut of Siberia. Am J Hum Biol 23(5): 703-709.

Urlacher SS, Blackwell AD, Libert MA, Madimenos FC, Cepon-Robins TJ, Gildner TE, Snodgrass JJ, Sugiyama LS. 2015. Physical Growth of the Shuar: Height, weight, and BMI references for an Indigenous Amazonian Population. Am J Hum Biol DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22747.

Madimenos FC, Lieber MA, Cepon-Robins TJ, Snodgrass JJ, Sugiyama LS. 2015. Determining osteoporosis risk in older Colono adults from rural Amazonian Ecuador using calcaneal ultrasonometry. Am J Hum Biol 27(1). DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22626.

Liebert MA, Snodgrass JJ, Madimenos FC, Cepon TJ, Blackwell AD, Sugiyama LS. 2013. Implications of market integration for cardiovascular and metabolic health among an indigenous Amazonian Ecuadorian population. Annals of Human Biology doi: 10.3109/03014460.2012.759621.

McDade TW, Tallman PS, Madimenos FC, Liebert MA, Cepon TJ, Sugiyama LS, Snodgrass JJ. 2012. Analysis of variability of high sensitivity C-reactive protein in lowland Ecuador reveals no evidence of chronic low-grade inflammation. Am J Hum Biol 24: 675-681.