Dr Alexandra Alvergne

Research Affiliate

Alex ALVERGNE | CNRS Research Fellow (Institute for Evolutionary Sciences, Montpellier University)

My research focuses on understanding the relationship between reproduction and health in contemporary human populations. Most recently, I have been working on contraceptive dynamics using ecological and cultural evolution approaches.

I seek to understand the role of the environment, be it social, cultural or pathogenic, in shaping diversity in reproductive and non-reproductive health. Some of the questions I am currently interested in are :

  • What is the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and menstrual cycles?
  • Why do women discontinue modern contraception whilst in need of contraceptives ?
  • What is the impact of infection on menstrual health ?
  • How can we understand diversity in age at menopause ?
  • What is the impact of reproduction on ageing ?

To answer those questions, I use various types of data (demographic, physiological, social networks, behavioural) from constrasted populations (the UK, India, Ethiopia and France).

Before joining CNRS, I have been an Associate Professor in the School and a Fellow of Harris Manchester College.

Personal website.

Current DPhil students
Selected publications

Sarai Keestra, Vedrana Hogqvist Tabor, Alexandra Alvergne (2021). Reinterpreting patterns of variation in human thyroid function. In: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eoaa043.

Alexandra Alvergne, Rose Stevens (2021). Cultural change beyond adoption dynamics: Evolutionary approaches to the discontinuation of contraception. In: Evolutionary Human Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2021.8.     

Abigail Fraser, Cathy Johnman, Elise Whitley, Alexandra Alvergne (2020). The evolutionary ecology of age at natural menopause: implications for public health. In: Evolutionary Human Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2020.59

Rose Stevens, Blandine Malbos, Eshetu Gurmu, Jeremie Riou, Alexandra Alvergne (2020). Anaemic women are more at risk of injectable contraceptive discontinuation due to side-effects in Ethiopia. In: medRxiv.     

Frédéric Thomas, Mathieu Giraudeau, François Renaud, Beata Ujvari, Benjamin Roche, Pascal Pujol, Michel Raymond, Jean-François Lemaitre, Alexandra Alvergne (2019) Can postfertile life stages evolve as an anticancer mechanism? PLoS Biol 17(12): e3000565

Alvergne A, Vlajic Wheeler M, Högqvist Tabor V. (2018) Do sexually transmitted infections exacerbate negative premenstrual symptoms? Insights from digital health. Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. 138–50. doi:10.1093/emph/eoy018.

Alvergne A, Högqvist Tabor V.(2018) Is female health cyclical? Evolutionary perspectives on menstruation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 33:399–414.

Billiard, S., Alvergne, A. (2018) Stochasticity in cultural evolution: a revolution yet to happenHistory and Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 40 (1):9.

Alvergne A, Stevens R, Gurmu E. (2017) Side effects and the need for secrecy: characterising discontinuation of modern contraception and its causes in Ethiopia using mixed methods. Contraception and Reproductive Medicine. 2:24. doi:10.1186/s40834-017-0052-7.

Alvergne, Faurie & Jenkinson (2016) Evolutionary thinking in medicine: from research to policy and practice. Springer.

Clue, Alvergne A. Positive symptoms of PMS. 2016

Voinson, Billiard, Alvergne (2015) Beyond rational decision-making: modelling the influence of cognitive biases on the dynamics of vaccination coverage. PLoS One, 10(11): e0142990

Alvergne (2015) Evolutionary MedicineInternational Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edn.

Alvergne & Lummaa (2014) Ecological variation in wealth-fertility relationships in Mongolia: the central theoretical problem of sociobiology not a problem after all? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 281 (1796), 20141733

Alvergne, Lawson, Gurmu, Clarke, Mace (2013). Fertility, parental investment and the early adoption of modern contraception in Ethiopia. American Journal of Human Biology 25:107-15

Alvergne, Gurmu, Mace (2011). Social transmission and the adoption of modern contraception in rural Ethiopia. PloS One 6:e22515

Alvergne, Lummaa (2010) Does the contraceptive pill alter mate choice? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25 (3): 171-179