Dr Heather Battles

Research | Current

  • Infectious disease
  • History of epidemics
  • Historical demography
  • Historical epidemiology

My research applies a holistic, biocultural approach to understanding the evolution and ecology of infectious diseases in human populations and their impacts, both social and biological. Much of my work examines the social history and mortality patterns in the epidemic emergence of poliomyelitis in the early 20th century (Canada and New Zealand), most recently in terms of the relationship between the First World War and New Zealand's 1916 polio epidemic and its aftermath. 

Teaching | Current

ANTHRO 208 Medical Anthropology

ANTHRO 726B Advanced Biological Anthropology

Postgraduate supervision

Current graduate students

Lotte van den Hout (MA) - An ethnoprimatological assessment of the orangutan human landscape in North Sumatra Province, Indonesia (primary: Nic Malone)

Beatrice Hudson (PhD) - The bioarchaeology of pre-contact Māori burial practice: Differentiation in life and death - secondary supervisor (primary: Judith Littleton)

Past graduate students - MAs

Rebecca Bell (MA) – Exploring gender as a mediator of micro-organism exposure and atopic disease in New Zealand preschool children. (2018)

Bobbie-Leigh Jones (MA) – The synergism between asthma, respiratory infections, and pollutants: A syndemic perspective. (2017)

Emily Ridgway (MA) - Child oral health in Northland, New Zealand: Exploring the local biology (co-supervisor with Judith Littleton) (2017)

Lakna Jayasinghe (MA) - Evaluating relationships between social support and stress response among a sample of immigrants in New Zealand: A biocultural approach - secondary supervisor (primary: Bruce Floyd) (2016)

Past graduate students - BA(Hons)

Rebecca Bell (BAHons) – Does gender socialization affect micro-organism exposure in young New Zealand children? (2016)

Bobbie-Leigh Dudley-Jones (BAHons) - Examining the biological synergism between asthma, respiratory viruses, and nitrogen dioxide using a syndemic framework (2015)

Elizabeth Thomas (BAHons) - Infectious disease in chimpanzees - secondary supervisor (primary: Nicholas Malone) (2015)

Areas of expertise

Infectious disease, history of epidemics, historical demography, historical epidemiology.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 7, Room 718
New Zealand

Social links

Web links