Department of Human Evolutionary Biology Harvard University 11 Divinity Ave Cambridge, MA 02138 Email: ercastil [at] fas.harvard.edu Phone: (617) 863-7427
Fax: (617) 496-8041
I am a biomechanist and evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, where I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. I'm broadly interested in the evolution of the human body and evolutionary perspectives on health.
My current research focuses on the origin and function of human lumbar lordosis (curvature of the lower back). Why did humans evolve a lordosis? What factors predict variations in lordosis, and what are the functional consequences of lordosis variations? To answer these questions, my work examines how the lower back functions in response to loads transmitted through the spine when we walk, run, and carry loads.
Using experimental methods and field studies of modern human populations around that world, my research explores the selection pressures shaping the evolution of the lumbar spine — and particularly the role of physical activity — to better understand global variations in, causes of, and potential treatments for spinal pathologies.