Theresa Gildner is a human biologist whose research expertise is biocultural health determinants. She is especially interested in how lifestyle variation and environmental conditions influence health outcomes and how these factors can produce and perpetuate health disparities, with implications for the design of more effect intervention programs.
Her work is primarily concerned with factors that influence parasitic disease, an underappreciated global health crisis. Her research focuses on soil-transmitted helminths, parasitic worms that infect more than a quarter of the global population (with children exhibiting the highest rates of infection). She currently studies parasite infection patterns among indigenous Shuar of Amazonian Ecuador as a member of the Shuar Health and Life History Project. She is also co-PI of the Rural Embodiment and Child Health (REACH) Study, which explores associations between lifestyle variation, ecological factors, and child health in rural and low-income regions of the Southern United States.
She has also worked extensively with the World Health Organization's multi-country Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE), a longitudinal study examining well-being among older adults in six middle-income countries. In addition, as a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College she co-founded the COVID-19 and Reproductive Effects (CARE) Study, a project examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare experiences and birth outcomes among pregnant individuals living in the United States.