Joe Alcock, MD

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Department of Emergency Medicine

Associate Professor

Emergency Medicine


BA Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara. 1991

MS Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University. 1997

MD University of California, Los Angeles. 1997.

Emergency Medicine Residency, University of New Mexico. 2000

MS Clinical Research, UNM CTSC. 2013


I am committed to educating students and studying the translational potential of evolutionary medicine. The intersection of medicine and evolutionary biology comprises a discipline that is quickly gathering steam, with direct benefits to patient care. Since 2008, I have taught Evolutionary Medicine to medical trainees, undergraduates and graduate students in Biology and Anthropology. This innovative course explores how tradeoffs involving natural selection and evolutionary history affect chronic and acute diseases. My own research is focused on evolution and the human microbiota.

My research is focused on evolution and the human microbiota. Specifically, I am interested  in how nutrition and circadian rhythm interact with gut microbes in ways that sometimes make us sick. Currently, my colleagues and I are studying whether working night shifts alters the gut microbiota, harms the gut barrier, and causes inflammation. If so, gut microbiota might be responsible for diseases associated with working overnight. Our group is also interested in whether genomic conflicts between host and microbiome are involved in unhealthy eating behaviors and obesity.