Abstract # 28:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 03:35 PM-03:50 PM: Session 9 (Mary Gay) Symposium


CONNECTIONS MATTER: INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AND THEIR PERTURBATIONS ON KEY INDICATORS OF HEALTH IN RHESUS MACAQUE SOCIETIES

B. McCowan1,2
1University of California, Davis, Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center
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     Patterns of health and well-being within and across animal societies represent emergent global patterns whose underlying social dynamics must be understood to better tackle complex health issues at both the individual and population levels. Our focus on this problem has been to employ an evolutionary social network approach on a nonhuman primate model using an interdisciplinary framework comprised of computational biology, genomics, epidemiology and behavioral biology. We seek to understand how spatial and mathematical relations of networks relate to the content and quality of relationships and how such variation influences a diversity of health outcomes. Using the natural variation of multiple large field corrals of rhesus macaque populations at CNPRC, our unique research program investigates the interplay of biobehavioral organization, early/current experience, and social network dynamics on health in nonhuman primates across the lifespan. Results from experimental perturbations to social network structure in these systems indicates that stressors from the social environment interact with individual and family characteristics such as personality and rank to influence the expression of multiple biomarkers of stress and disease such as cytokines, c-reactive protein, fecal pathogen load and viral shedding. We will discuss how this social network approach on large captive groups fosters biomedical applications in wild primate populations and provides a critical translational model for understanding and intervening on important health trajectories, specifically aging, in human populations.