Katie Hinde, Assistant Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University and Director of the Comparative Lactation Laboratory, Peabody Museum, Harvard University.
Katie Hinde, received her B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington in 1999. She earned her MA (2004) and Ph.D. (2008) in Anthropology at UCLA under the mentorship of Dr. Joan Silk. As a post-doc, Dr. Hinde secured a Senior Research Grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate mother’s milk and infant development in rhesus monkeys. Simultaneously with that study, Dr. Hinde conducted post-doctoral research on the neurobiological mechanisms of pair-bonding in the monogamous titi monkey under the guidance of Dr. Karen Bales and Dr. Sally Mendoza.
Dr. Hinde’s research seeks to understand how mother’s milk contributes to physiological, psychobiological, and behavioral development in infants of socially complex taxa, particularly humans and non-human primates. Mother’s milk and the consequences for infant outcomes have been repeatedly identified as fundamental for understanding numerous aspects of developmental nutrition, parent-offspring conflict, and life history theory but until her work, relatively little was known about inter-individual variation in milk synthesis. Research from her Comparative Lactation Laboratory established descriptive values for rhesus macaque milk production, and demonstrated the influence of maternal life-history and infant sex on milk composition and yield. Her ongoing work shows that energetic and hormonal aspects of milk, particular cortisol, not only influence infant growth but also contribute to infant behavior. Higher calories and more cortisol in milk contributes to producing infants that are more active, playful, and exploratory, and are better at coping in novel, stressful situations.
Studies from Dr. Hinde’s research program have been published in Current Biology, American Journal of Human Biology, American Journal of Primatology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Journal of Medical Primatology, and Developmental Psychobiology. Reports on her research program have been featured in Nature Outlook, MSNBC, History Channel Evolution Series, and Science Daily. In addition to her academic appointment at Harvard University, Dr. Hinde is a research affiliate of the Brain, Mind, and Behavior Unit at the California National Primate Research Center, the Nutrition Laboratory at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, and the Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis. Dr. Hinde is an active member of the American Society of Primatologists and currently serves as the Chair of their Education Committee. Additionally Dr. Hinde is a Delphi Fellow for Big Think (bigthink.com), an online mission to identify the most significant ideas of our time, across multiple fields of knowledge, and communicate and contextualize them to the public. Dr. Hinde also maintains www.mammalssuck.blogspot.com. This blog provides information on mother’s milk, breastfeeding, and lactation from the molecule to the organism to the population, integrating perspectives from nutrition, medicine, psychology, and evolutionary biology for a lay audience.