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headshot of Ralph M. Garruto

Ralph M. Garruto

Professor/Director, BU Biospecimen Archive Facility



Garruto is a human population biologist and his research focuses on natural experimental models of disease, using both field and laboratory approaches. His cross-disciplinary research and interests include studies of neurodegenerative disorders including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease, food chain disorders, health transition studies, obesity and bionutrition, malaria, Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, and prion diseases, especially Chronic Wasting Disease. He currently has field research projects in Micronesia, Vanuatu, Ukraine, China, Siberia, and upstate New York. His wet laboratory focus is on cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal degeneration, host-pathogen interactions, experimental modeling, use of mitochondrial DNA in biomedical and evolutionary studies, and the study of gene-environment interactions in health and disease.


  • PhD, MA, BS, Pennsylvania State University

Research Interests

  • Biomedical anthropology and neurosciences