Christopher A. Schmitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

PhD, New York University
MA, New York University
BS, University of Wisconsin Madison

Christopher Schmitt is an Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology, and co-director of the Sensory Morphology and Anthropological Genomics Lab (SMAGL) on the Charles River Campus of Boston University. His central research questions use non-human primate (NHP) models to understand adaptations to extreme ecologies, which are becoming more severe with anthropogenic climate change. He focus on pre-adulthood as a particularly responsive and plastic period when ecological conditions may have an outsized impact on developing primates and their life histories. How vulnerable or robust are primates, including humans, to environmental variation during ontogeny, and what can this tell us about developmental impacts on lifetime health? He use behavioral ecology, morphometric, and genomics methods to study mechanistic and adaptive aspects of these questions in two NHP models: metabolic disorders in savanna monkeys (Chlorocebusspp.), and high elevation adaptations in woolly monkeys.

Christopher Schmitt has been an academic adviser at BU for the seven years he’s been on the faculty. He’d experienced the impact an adviser could have on students during his undergraduate days at the University of Wisconsin, where “it was very easy to get lost in the shuffle” of 40,000 students, he says, especially as a young person who’d just come out about his sexuality.

Assistant Professor
Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Assessing Technological Enhancement of Conservation Monitoring and Education for Endangered Endemic Primates in Peru
06/01/2024 - 12/31/2025 (PI)
National Geographic Society

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Cold adaptation and gene expression
08/01/2023 - 07/31/2024 (Multi-PI)
National Science Foundation

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Landscape Mitogenomics and High Altitude Adaptation in Primates
08/15/2022 - 07/31/2024 (Multi-PI)
National Science Foundation

Discovering the Evolutionary Origins of Obesity
07/15/2019 - 06/01/2024 (PI)
National Geographic Society

Modeling the Evolution of Obesity: Gene expression, Drought and Anthropogenic Stress in Wild Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)
07/15/2019 - 01/31/2024 (PI)
The Leakey Foundation

Validating selection using expression UCP1 in fibroblast-derived brown adipocytes
10/01/2022 - 12/31/2023 (Key Person / Mentor)
The Leakey Foundation

Impact of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity of the Critically Endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) in Peru
06/01/2019 - 06/01/2021 (PI)
Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation

Impact of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity of the Critically Endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) in Peru
06/01/2019 - 08/31/2020 (PI)
Primate Conservation International Foundation


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Zarate MA, Shanee S, Charpentier E, Sarmiento Y, Schmitt CA. Expanded distribution and predicted suitable habitat for the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) in Perú. Am J Primatol. 2023 Feb; 85(2):e23464. PMID: 36642976; DOI: 10.1002/ajp.23464;
  2. Gagnon CM, Svardal H, Jasinska AJ, Danzy Cramer J, Freimer NB, Paul Grobler J, Turner TR, Schmitt CA. Evidence of selection in the uncoupling protein 1 gene region suggests local adaptation to solar irradiance in savannah monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.). Proc Biol Sci. 2022 Sep 14; 289(1982):20221254. PMID: 36100027; PMCID: PMC9470266; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2022.1254;
  3. Monson TA, Brasil MF, Mahaney MC, Schmitt CA, Taylor CE, Hlusko LJ. Keeping 21st Century Paleontology Grounded: Quantitative Genetic Analyses and Ancestral State Reconstruction Re-Emphasize the Essentiality of Fossils. Biology (Basel). 2022 Aug 13; 11(8). PMID: 36009845; PMCID: PMC9404954; DOI: 10.3390/biology11081218;
  4. Jasinska AJ, Dong TS, Lagishetty V, Katzka W, Jacobs JP, Schmitt CA, Cramer JD, Ma D, Coetzer WG, Grobler JP, Turner TR, Freimer N, Pandrea I, Apetrei C. Shifts in microbial diversity, composition, and functionality in the gut and genital microbiome during a natural SIV infection in vervet monkeys. Microbiome. 2020 Nov 06; 8(1):154. PMID: 33158452; PMCID: PMC7648414; DOI: 10.1186/s40168-020-00928-4;
  5. Brasil MF, Monson TA, Schmitt CA, Hlusko LJ. A genotype:phenotype approach to testing taxonomic hypotheses in hominids. Naturwissenschaften. 2020 Sep 01; 107(5):40. PMID: 32870408; DOI: 10.1007/s00114-020-01696-9;
  6. Schmitt CA, Bergey CM, Jasinska AJ, Ramensky V, Burt F, Svardal H, Jorgensen MJ, Freimer NB, Grobler JP, Turner TR. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 variation in savanna monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.): Potential risk for zoonotic/anthroponotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and a potential model for functional studies. PLoS One. 2020; 15(6):e0235106. PMID: 32574196; PMCID: PMC7310727; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235106;
  7. Schmitt CA, Garrett EC. De-Scent with Modification: More Evidence and Caution Needed to Assess Whether the Loss of a Pheromone Signaling Protein Permitted the Evolution of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior in Primates. Arch Sex Behav. 2021 Aug; 50(6):2301-2307. PMID: 31741251; DOI: 10.1007/s10508-019-01583-z;
  8. Jarrett JD, Bonnell T, Jorgensen MJ, Schmitt CA, Young C, Dostie M, Barrett L, Henzi SP. Modeling variation in the growth of wild and captive juvenile vervet monkeys in relation to diet and resource availability. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2020 Jan; 171(1):89-99. PMID: 31675103; PMCID: PMC7449506; DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23960;
  9. Monson TA, Boisserie JR, Brasil MF, Clay SM, Dvoretzky R, Ravindramurthy S, Schmitt CA, Souron A, Takenaka R, Ungar PS, Yoo S, Zhou M, Zuercher ME, Hlusko LJ. Evidence of strong stabilizing effects on the evolution of boreoeutherian (Mammalia) dental proportions. Ecol Evol. 2019 Jul; 9(13):7597-7612. PMID: 31346425; PMCID: PMC6635932; DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5309;
  10. Svardal H, Jasinska AJ, Apetrei C, Coppola G, Huang Y, Schmitt CA, Jacquelin B, Ramensky V, Müller-Trutwin M, Antonio M, Weinstock G, Grobler JP, Dewar K, Wilson RK, Turner TR, Warren WC, Freimer NB, Nordborg M. Publisher Correction: Ancient hybridization and strong adaptation to viruses across African vervet monkey populations. Nat Genet. 2018 Nov; 50(11):1617. PMID: 30327573; DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0124-x;
Showing 10 of 25 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 25 publications over 10 distinct years, with a maximum of 3 publications in 2013 and 2014 and 2015 and 2018 and 2019 and 2020


2023 Boston University: Undergraduate Academic Advising Award
2023-2024 American Association for Anthropological Genetics: President
2022 Boston University College of Arts & Sciences: Susan K. Jackson Service Award
2022-2023 American Association for Anthropological Genetics: Vice President

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