Austin Argentieri

austin argentieri



DPhil Student, Medical Anthropology

Green Templeton College

Thesis: The Embodiment of Social Inequality: Investigating the Intersection of Ethnography and Environmental Epigenetics


My research focuses on understanding the embodiment of social inequality at both the phenomenological and molecular level among low-income and disadvantaged populations, and how this may then contribute to health inequality persistent throughout the United States. In particular, I am interested in the epigenetic mechanisms through which stress, adversity, poverty, and trauma impact health. Through an interdisciplinary study design, my DPhil research aims to more substantively incorporate ethnographic and phenomenological methods into epigenetics research designs in order to more rigorously investigate co-productions of the social and the biological. During the 2018-19 academic year, I will conduct this DPhil research abroad as a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University.

I am also a Research Associate at the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities, located within Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, where I have conducted research for several years on the epigenetics of psychosocial stress and social adversity. This research has also focused on identifying positive sources of resiliency, such as social support and spirituality, that function to improve human health in the face of adversity.

Previous Education

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Medical Anthropology, University of Oxford (2015)

Other Research Interests: epigenomics; genomics; embodiment; local biologies; ontology; structural violence and global health; resiliency; religion and spirituality; meditation and mindfulness; placebo effects


1. Argentieri M.A., Nagarajan S., Seddighzadeh B., Baccarelli A.A., Shields A.E. Epigenetic Pathways in Human Disease: The Impact of DNA Methylation on Stress-Related Pathogenesis and Current Challenges in Biomarker Development. EBioMedicine. 2017; 18: 327-350. PMID: 28434943.

2. VanderWeele T.J., Yu J., Cozier Y.C., Wise L., Argentieri M.A., Rosenberg L., Palmer J.R., Shields A.E. Attendance at Religious Services, Prayer, Religious Coping, and Religious/Spiritual Identity as Predictors of All-Cause Mortality in the Black Women's Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2017; 185(7): 515-522. PMID: 28338863.

3. Argentieri M.A. Embodiment and Ontologies of Inequality in Medicine: Towards an Integrative Understanding of Disease and Health Disparities. Body & Society. 2018; 24(3): 125-152.

4. Cozier Y.C., Yu J., Wise L.A., VanderWeele T.J., Balboni T., Argentieri M.A., et al. Religious and Spiritual Coping and Risk of Incident Hypertension in the Black Women’s Health Study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2018; 52(12): 989-998. PMID: 30418522.

5. Spence D., Argentieri M.A., et al. Palliative Care in the Caribbean Through the Lens of Women with Breast Cancer: Challenges and Opportunities. Current Breast Cancer Reports. 2018; 10(3): 157-169.

6. Spence D., Argentieri M.A., et al. Advancing Cancer Care and Prevention Strategies in the Caribbean: A Survey of Promising Strategies in the Region. Lancet Oncology [published online ahead of print August 5, 2019] DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30516-9.

7. Spence D., Dyer R., Andall-Brereton G., Barton M., Stanway S., Argentieri M.A. et al. Cancer control in the Caribbean island countries and territories: some progress but the journey continues. Lancet Oncology [published online ahead of print August 5, 2019] DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30512-1.

8. Spence N., Farvid M.S., Warner E.T., VanderWeele T.J., Tworoger S.S., Argentieri M.A., Shields A.E. Religious Service Attendance, Religious Coping, and Risk of Hypertension in Women Participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2019 [in press].