Ralph M. Garruto


PhD, Penn State University, 1973


Professor of biomedical anthropology and biological sciences; director of the NIH-BU Serum Archive Facility and the Laboratory of Biomedical Anthropology and Neurosciences. Research is interdisciplinary and combines field and laboratory approaches to the study of both infectious and chronic diseases within a biomedical, anthropological and evolutionary framework. Field sites include the Andes, Cambodia, Caribbean, China, Melanesia, Micronesia, Siberia and Ukraine. State-of-the-art cell and molecular laboratories at biohazard levels 2-3 containment are used in support of the fieldwork that is conducted globally.



Research interests

Primary research interests are in natural experimental models, gene-environment interactions, health transitions, food chain disorders, evolution of drug resistance (Malaria), emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. Current research projects include high incidence foci of ALS and Parkinsonism in the Western Pacific, Viliusk Encephalomyelitis in Siberia, health transitions in Vanuatu, and cross-species transmission of prion diseases in the U.S.

Selected bibliography (last 5 years)

Dancause KN, DeHuff C, Soloway LE, Vilar M, Chan CW, Wilson M, Tarivonda L, Regenvanu R, Kaneko A, Garruto RM, Lum JK. Behavioral changes associated with economic development in the South Pacific: The health transition in Vanuatu. American Journal of Human Biology. Accepted 30 Nov 2010 (Mar 2011).

Dancause KN, Vilar M, DeHuff C, Wilson M, Soloway LE, Chan CW, Lum JK, Garruto RM. 2010. Relationships between body size and percent body fat among Melanesians in Vanuatu. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 19(3):425-421.

Dancause KN, Yevtushok L, Lapchenko S, Shumlyansky I, Shevchenko G, Wertelecki W, Garruto RM. 2010. Chronic radiation exposure in the Rivne-Polissia region of Ukraine: Implications for birth defects. American Journal of Human Biology. 22:667–674.

Little MA and Garruto RM. 2010. Raymond Pearl and the shaping of human biology. Human Biology. 82(1):77-102.

Garruto RM, Weitz CA. 2010. Impact of Natural Environmental Stressors on Physiological and Morphological Processes: Methodological Approaches in the Field and the Laboratory. In: Human Variation - From the Laboratory to the Field, ed. by CGN Mascie-Taylor, SJ Ulijaszek, and A Yasukouchi. Taylor and Francis Group, London. 269-289.

Lee HS, Zhdanova SN, Vladimirtsev VA, Platonov FA, Osakovskiy VL, Subbotina EL, Broytman O, Danilova AP, Nikitina RS, Chepurnov AA, Krivoshapkin VG, Gajdusek DC, Savilov YD, Garruto RM, Goldfarb LG. 2010. Epidemiology of Viliuisk encephalomyelitis in Eastern Siberia. Epidemiology 21:24-30.

Bauer TM, Arber C, Navratil N, Spathis R. and Garruto RM. 2009. Training Manual and Guide to the NINDS-LCNSS-BU Serum Archive 4th Edition. Graduate Program in Biomedical Anthropology, Laboratory of Biomedical Anthropology and Neurosciences, Binghamton University.

Kihira, T, Suzuki A, Kondo T, Wakayama I, Yoshida S, Hasegawa K, Garruto RM. 2009. Immunohistochemical expression of IGF-I and GSK in the spinal cord of Kii and Guamanian ALS patients. Neuropathology 29:548-558.

Sieh W, Choi Y, Chapman NH, Craig U-K, Steinbart EJ, Rothstein JH, Oyanagi K, Garruto RM, Bird TD, Galasko DR, Schellenberg GD, Wijsman EM. 2009. Identification of novel susceptibility loci for Guam neurodegenerative disease: Challenges of genome scans in genetic isolates. Human Molecular Genetics 18:3725-3738.

Garruto RM. 2009. Obituary D. Carleton Gajdusek: 1923-2008. American Journal of Human Biology 21:716-718.

Garruto RM, Yanagihara R. 2009. Contributions of isolated Pacific populations to understanding neurodegenerative diseases. Folia Neuropathologica 47: 149-170.

Soloway LE, Demerath EW, Ochs N, James GD, Little MA, Bindon JR, Garruto RM. 2009. Blood pressure and lifestyle on Saba, Netherlands Antilles. American Journal of Human Biology 21: 319-325.

Garruto, RM, James GD, Little MA. 2009. Paul Thornell Baker: 1927–2007. Biographical Memoir. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. 32 pages.

Hermosura MC, Go RCV, Davenport B, Shetler CM, Cui AM, Schmitz C, Mocz G, Garruto RM and Perraud 2008. A-L. Altered functional properties of a TRPM2 variant in Guamanian Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinsonism Dementia. PNAS 105(46): 18029-18034.

Geser F, Winton MJ, Kwong LK, Yan X, Xie SX, Igaz LM, Garruto RM, Perl DP, Galasko D, Lee VMY, Trojanowski JQ. 2008. Pathological TDP-43 in parkinsonism-dementia complex and amylotrophic lateral sclerosis of Guam. Acta Neuropath. 115: 133-145.

Garruto RM, Reiber C, Alfonso MP, Gastrich H, Needham K, Sunderman S, Walker S, Weeks J, DeRosa N, Faisst E, Dunn J Fanelli K, Shilkret K. 2008. Risk behaviors in a rural community with a known point-source exposure to chronic wasting disease. Environmental Health 17:31. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-7-3.

Vasudevarao P, Bharathi, Garruto RM, Sambamurati K, and Rao, KSJ. 2008. Role of DNA dynamics in Alzheimer's disease. Brain Research Reviews 58: 136-148.

Ahn YM and Garruto RM. 2008. Estimations of Body Surface Area in Newborns. Acta Paediatrica 97:366-370.

Hermosura MC, Go RCV, Davenport B, Shetler CM, Cui AM, Schmitz C, Mocz G, Garruto RM and Perraud 2008. A-L. Altered functional properties of a TRPM2 variant in Guamanian Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinsonism Dementia. PNAS 105(46): 18029-18034.

Ahn YM and Garruto RM. 2007. Weight variation by sex and nature of risk factors in high-risk infants: An evolutionary perspective. Collegium Anthropologicum 31: 937-931.

Lynch D, Wanglund C, Spathis R, Chan CW, Reiff DM, Lum JK, Garruto RM. 2007. The contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction to a gene-environment model of Guamanian ALS and PD. Mitochondrion 8: 109-116.

Hermosura MC and Garruto RM. 2007. TRPM7 and TRPM2 - Candidate susceptibility genes for western Pacific ALS and PD? Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1772: 822-835.

Little MA and Garruto RM. 2007. Global impacts of anthropogenic climate change on human health and adaptability. In: The Anthropologist - Anthropology Today: Trends, Scopes and Appplications, eds. V Bahasin and MK Bhasin, Kaml'a-Raj Enterprises (KRE), Delhi, India. pp. 335-351.

Sundar PD, Yu CE, Sieh W, Steinbart E, Garruto RM, Oyanagi K, Craig UK, Bird TD, Wijsman E, Galasko D, Schellenberg GD. 2007. Two sites in the MAPT region confer genetic risk for Guam ALS/PDC and dementia. Human Molecular Genetics 16: 295-306.

Weitz CA and Garruto RM. 2007. A comparative analysis of arterial oxygen saturation among Tibetans and Han born and raised at high altitude. High Altitude Medicine and Biology 8: 13-26.

Sikorska B, Garruto R, Yanagihara R, Gelpi E, Liberski PP. 2006. Neuropatologia i neuropatogeneza stwardienia bocznego zanikowego i innych chorob neuronu ruchowego- w poszukiwaniu brakujacego ogniwa.(Neuropathology and neuropathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other motor neuron diseases - in search of a missing link). In: Stwardnienie Boczne Zanikowe, Medycyna Praktyczna, Krakow pp. 41-54.

Chan CW, Garruto RM, Lum JK. 2006. Paleoparasite Populations from Archived Sera: Insights into Chloroquine Drug-Resistance in Papua New Guinea. Journal of Infectious Disease. 194: 1023-1024.

Garruto RM. 2006. A Commentary on Neuronal Degeneration and Cell Death in Guam ALS and PD: An Evolutionary Process of Understanding. Current Alzheimer Research 3: 397-401.

Chan CW, Lynch D, Spathis R, Hombhanje FW, Kaneko A, Garruto RM and Lum JK. 2006. Flashback to the 60s: utility of archived sera to explore the origin and evolution of Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance in the Pacific. Acta Tropica 99: 15-22.

Weitz CA and Garruto RM. 2006. Population differences in sexual dimorphism during growth at high altitude on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. In: Gender Disparity: Manifestations, Causes and Implications, Bharati P and Pal M, eds., pp. 70-102. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.


Last Updated: 8/2/16