Nathan H. Lents

Nathan H. Lents

Nathan H. Lents
Professor of Biology; Director of the Honors College
Phone number: 
Room number and address: 
08.64 NB


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


My research lab currently has two active projects. First, we are studying the human microbiome, the community of bacteria and other microbes that live in and on us, and how this community changes following the death of the human host. The goal of this project is to develop tools to better estimate the postmortem interval (time since death) to aid death investigations. Second, we are exploring the genetic diversity in common household plants. The goal is to develop a DNA barcording system for the identification of trace plant residue recovered from crime scenes.

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 3 years)

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 2017v54:2;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
Faculty Website URL: 

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