Jared M. Diamond

Work Titles
UCLA Professor, Environmental Health Sciences Professor, Physiology Member, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England
B.A., Harvard

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UCLA Geography
BOX 951524, 1255 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Detailed Biography:

My research lies at the interface between molecular biology and evolutionary biology, and focuses on the evolutionary design of biological "capacities" through natural selection. Examples of biological capacities include the Vmax of an enzyme or transporter, the number of ion permeation channels, the mass of a tissue, and the strength of a bone. Most current biological research is concerned with the proximate mechanisms responsible for setting capacities, such as rates of protein synthesis and degradation. However, there is also a little-explored problem of ultimate causation: what are the selective factors that result in capacities being expressed at their actual levels, rather than at some higher or lower levels? Observed biological safety factors (ratios of capacities to maximum natural loads) fall mostly in the range 1.2 - 5; why not higher? Large safety factors obviously increase performance but also incur costs: at the molecular level, are excess capacities limited by biosynthetic energy, occupied space, or other costs?

To study these problems, my lab uses nutrient transporters and hydrolases. We push animals to ceilings of metabolic rate, compare their transporter and enzyme capacities with dietary substrate loads, calculate safety factors, and compare safety factors of reaction steps arranged in series. We thereby seek to understand the observed natural variation in biological safety factors, and to identify limiting factors for biological performance.


A selected list of publications:

Arthur Ronan, Diamond Jared   Geography. Understanding tribal fates Science (New York, N.Y.), 2011; 334(6058): 911-2.
Diamond Jared   Linguistics: Deep relationships between languages Nature, 2011; 476(7360): 291-2.
Diamond Jared   Medicine: diabetes in India Nature, 2011; 469(7331): 478-9.
Diamond Jared   Social science. The benefits of multilingualism Science (New York, N.Y.), 2010; 330(6002): 332-3.
Diamond Jared   Sociology: political evolution Nature, 2010; 467(7317): 798-9.
Diamond Jared   Archaeology: Maya, Khmer and Inca Nature, 2009; 461(7263): 479-80.
Diamond Jared   Archaeology. Easter Island revisited Science (New York, N.Y.), 2007; 317(5845): 1692-4.
Wolfe Nathan D, Dunavan Claire Panosian, Diamond Jared   Origins of major human infectious diseases Nature, 2007; 447(7142): 279-83.
Miller Shaun, Diamond Jared   Social sciences: a New World of differences Nature, 2006; 441(7092): 411-2.
Russell Gareth J, Diamond Jared M, Reed Timothy M, Pimm Stuart L   Breeding birds on small islands: island biogeography or optimal foraging? The Journal of animal ecology, 2006; 75(2): 324-39.
Diamond Jared   Anthropology. The astonishing micropygmies Science (New York, N.Y.), 2004; 306(5704): 2047-8.
Diamond Jared M   Archaeology. Life with the artificial Anasazi Nature, 2002; 419(6907): 567-9.
Diamond, J.M.   Blitzkrieg against moas, Science, 2000; 287: 2170-2121.
Diamond, J.M.   Dirty eating for healthy living, Nature, 1999; 400: 120-121.
Diamond, J.M.   Rivers in the sky, Discover, 1999; 20(3): 94-102.
Secor, SM Diamond, J   Adaptive responses to feeding in Burmese pythons: pay before pumping The Journal of experimental biology. , 1995; 198(Pt 6): 1313-25.
Secor, S. M., Stein, E. D. and Diamond, J. M.   Rapid up-regulation of snake intestine in response to feeding: a new model of intestinal adaptation, Am. J. Physiol, 1994; 266(4): G695-G705.
Ferraris, RP Diamond, JM   Crypt/villus site of substrate-dependent regulation of mouse intestinal glucose transporters Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. , 1993; 90(12): 5868-72.
Diamond, J. M.   Logic of Life: The Challenge of Integrative Physiology, In: Evolutionary Physiology (D. Noble and C.A.R. Boyd, eds.), 1993; 89-111.
Pimm, S. L., Diamond, J., Reed, T.M., Russell, G.J. and Verner, J.   Times to extinction of small populations of large birds, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.) , 1993; 90: 10871-10875.

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