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Barbara J. Natterson, MD



Preferred Name: Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

Academic/Professional Titles

  • Professor of Medicine, UCLA Division of Cardiology
  • Visiting Professor, Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Co-Director, Evolutionary Medicine Program at UCLA
  • Director, MS Biology in Evolutionary Medicine Graduate Program, UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


See Dr. Natterson-Horowitz's academic research page:

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D., develops bio-inspired strategies for understanding and addressing human health challenges. Her work focuses on the natural world and evolutionary biology as sources of insight for health and development. A Professor of Medicine in the UCLA Division of Cardiology and Visiting Professor in Harvard University's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, she co-directs the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Program. 
Studying a diverse range of animals in natural settings she has uncovered evolved adaptations with relevance to heart failure, sudden cardiac death, seizures, dementia, movement disorders, infertility and psychiatric conditions including anxiety, compulsive and eating disorders. 

Her most recent research focuses on species-wide patterns in development across critical transitional periods of life including the adolescent to adult transition. 
She is actively involved with education teaching undergraduates and graduate students at UCLA and Harvard, developing courses which use evolutionary and comparative approaches to help medical students better understand physical and mental illnesses. 

Dr. Natterson-Horowitz supervises the independent research of many undergraduates and graduate students as co-director of the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Master's degree program, as a faculty advisor on the UC-HBCU grant, and as supervising faculty advisor for Harvard undergraduate theses. 

In 2018, she first offered Coming of Age on Planet Earth, a course which uses a comparative and evolutionary frame to better understand the transition from adolescent to adult life across species. 
Dr. Natterson-Horowitz studied evolutionary biology as an undergraduate and graduate student, receiving bachelor's and master's degrees from Harvard. She attended UC San Francisco for medical school followed by post-graduate training at UCLA including internal medicine residency and chief residency, and cardiology fellowship with advanced training in heart failure and cardiac imaging. She has been a member of the UCLA Division of Cardiology since 1993 and served as Director of Imaging for the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Group. 
In 2012, she published the NY Times bestselling book, Zoobiquity, which makes the case for a species-spanning approach to health. Zoobiquity was a Finalist in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)'s Excellence in Science Books Award, Smithsonian Top Book of 2012, Discover Magazine Best Book of 2012, and the China Times Best Book of 2012. It has been translated into seven languages and has been the common read at universities across the country. 

In September 2019, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz will keynote the Nobel Assembly's Nobel Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The theme of the 2019 conference be the identification and application of scientific insights from the natural world to human health. In the same month, her new book, Wildhood, a comparative and phylogenetic exploration of the developmental transition from puberty to mature adulthood, will be published. 

Dr. Natterson-Horowitz is President-Elect of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. 





UCLA School of Medicine, 1995


UCLA School of Medicine, 1992
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital, 1990


Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 1988


UC San Francisco School of Medicine, MD, 1987

Hospital Affiliations

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center



  • Cardiac Imaging
  • Intersection Between Human and Veterinary Medicine
  • Interventional Echocardiography
  • Transesophageal Echocardiography
  • Stress and Heart Disease
  • Depression and Myocardial Infarction
  • Emotional Stress and Sudden Death

Technical Research Interest:

I develop interdisciplinary programs that bring together the fields of veterinary medicine, human medicine, evolutionary and wildlife biology to explore the potential for a species-spanning approach to health. The potential for comparative clinical medicine and evolutionary medicine to yield new approaches and novel hypotheses for important health challenges is only now emerging. Some of the initiatives I have developed to expand the interface between these related but too often disconnected fields have included:

  • Conferences bringing physicians and veterinarians together to discuss the shared diseases of different species
  • Medical school course on comparative clinical medicine
  • Novel research initiative pairing UCLA medical students with UC Davis veterinary students to explore important health concerns relevant to both humans and animals
  • Evolutionary Medicine Month at UCLA - “Darwin on Rounds” Project
  • Develop undergraduate, graduate and medical school curriculum in evolutionary medicine