Nathan H. Lents

Nathan H. Lents

Nathan H. Lents
Professor of Biology
Phone number: 
Room number and address: 
Office: 05.61.06; Lab 05.62


  • B.S., Biology, Saint Louis University (1999)
  • Ph.D., Pharmacology and Physiology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine (2004)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Genomics, New York University (2006)


My research lab currently has two active projects. First, we are studying the recent evolution of the human genome in an effort to help understand the genetic underpinnings of human uniqueness. Of particular interest are genes and other genetic elements that are unique to humans and extinct relatives. We are engaged in a genome-scale effort to discover and characterize these human-specific genes and infer their evolutionary origin. Secondly, some members of my lab are currently exploring genetic diversity in common household plants. The goal is to develop B) a DNA barcoding system for species-identification of trace plant residue recovered from crime scenes and B) the development of microsattelite markers (STRs) for forensic DNA fingerprinting of plants, two tools that are currently lacking in the forensic toolkit.

I also write popular science books, articles, and I blog at The Human Evolution Blog and Psychology Today under tagline Beastly Behavior: How Evolution Shaped Our Minds and Bodies. 

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Scholarly Work


1. Lents NH.  Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Defects, from Broken Genes to Pointless Bones. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2018. Represented by the Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. Additional deals signed for the following markets to date: Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, the UK, Norway.

2. Lents NH.  Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals. Columbia University Press. May 2016.


(Most recent 5 years)

1. Lents NH, Swamidass SJ, Lenski RL. The End of Evolution? A Biochemist’s Crusade to Overturn Evolution Misrepresents Theory and Ignores Evidence. Science. 08-Feb 2019. v363(6427): p590.

1. Srivastava T, Wu M, Kakhnovich J, Waithaka B, and Lents NH. A Three-locus, PCR-based Method for Forensic Identification of Plant Material. Submitted, Aug 2017. Journal of Forensic Sciences.

2. Carpi A, Ronan DM, Falconer HM, and Lents NH. Cultivating Minority Scientists: Undergraduate Research Increases Self-Efficacy and Career Ambitions for Underrepresented Students in STEMJournal of Research in Science Teaching. Feb 2017. v54:2;169-194.

3. Johnson HT, Trinidad DD, Guzman S, Parziale JV, DeBruyn JM, and Lents NH. A Machine Learning Approach for Using the Postmortem Skin Microbiome to Estimate the Postmortem Interval. PLoS ONE 23-Dec 2016. v11.12: e0167370.

4. Piszczatowski RT and Lents NH. Regulation of the CCN Genes by Vitamin D: A Possible Adjuvant Therapy in the Treatment of Cancer and Fibrosis. (Invited Review) Cellular Signaling. July 2016. 28(10):1604-13.

5. Lents NH and Baldassare JJ. Cyclins and Cyclin-dependent Kinases. In: Ralph A. Bradshaw and Philip D. Stahl (Editors-in-Chief), Encyclopedia of Cell Biology. Vol. 3  © 2015, Elsevier Academic Press, Oxford, U.K.

6. Piszczatowski RT, Rafferty BJ, Rozado A, Parzale JV, and Lents NH. Myeloid Zinc Finger 1 Regulates Expression of the CCN2/CTGF and CCN3/NOV Genes in the Hematopoietic Compartment. Journal of Cellular Physiology. Nov 2015. v230(11);2634-39.

7. Piszczatowski RT, Rafferty BJ, Rozado A, Tobak S, and Lents NH. The Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Gene (GAPDH) is Regulated by Myeloid Zinc Finger 1 (MZF-1) and Is Induced by Calcitriol. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 15 Aug 2014; v451(1);137-41.


Area of Expertise

Faculty Expertise: topics/keywords

Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Forensic Biology, Forensic DNA, Forensic Toxicology, Evolution
Online Presence
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