Department of Human Ecology
The field of human ecology encompasses a wide range of perspectives in an effort to understand human health in relation to adaptation to physical and social environments. To this end, we use methodologies developed in human biology, nutritional sciences, anthropology, demography, environmental health, and urban ecology.
The major topics of our studies include:
- Health impact of exposure to heavy metals, air pollution, unhealthy urban structures, and ecosystem degradation;
- The roles of gut microbiota in nutritional adaptation and the evolution of human populations;
- Mitigation of the health impacts of aging and depopulation at community/national scales;
- Biological and behavioral explanations of low fertility and fecundity during the post-demographic transition period;
- Behavioral and nutritional adaptation of human populations in Asia and Oceania; and
- Medical anthropology.
For Prospective Students
The Department of Human Ecology (DHE) offers Master’s and PhD programs for students who have an interest in the ecology of health and survival of human populations. Graduates of our course proceed to academic positions at universities and research institutes all over the world. For details about the entrance examination, see the website of School of International Health (SIH).
Studying at DHE
Master’s students are required to take courses in human ecology and relevant subjects to learn basic methodologies and gain knowledge of global health issues. The students are also required to conduct research and write a Master’s thesis under the supervision of faculty members. All members of the department meet at least twice a week: at “Lunch Meetings”, where each member reports what s/he learned over the last 7 days and what s/he plans to do for the next 7 days; and at “Journal Club”, where one member of the department discusses novel findings reported in recently published scientific papers. In addition to regular supervision by the faculty, students report their research progress to the entire department every 2 months and receive feedback.
Students who graduate from the Master’s program will gain an understanding of theories and methodologies pertaining to human ecology, and will be able to plan and conduct individual studies, perform basic statistical analysis, and write scientific papers. Students who complete PhD programs are expected to lead research teams in the search for novel findings.
We typically hold a welcoming party under the cherry blossoms in April. The alumni meeting in June/July is a good opportunity to meet individuals who graduated from DHE and are working as researchers in various universities/institutions. A year-end party is also held, with invitations extended to former professors of the department. We commemorate students who complete the Master’s and PhD programs in a farewell party in March. Furthermore, the SIH organizes a summer seminar, where there are opportunities to communicate with students and faculty from other departments in SIH.
All lectures are given in English. Although it is not necessary to learn Japanese to complete a graduate education program at SIH, we recommend that students learn Japanese to make their stay in Tokyo more enjoyable.
Recent Doctoral Theses
Kyi Mar WAI
Impact of prenatal heavy metals exposure on birth outcomes and newborns leucocytes telomere length in Myanmar
Psychological impact of rural-to-urban migration on those left behind in rural Fujian, China
The double burden of malnutrition within household: An investigation of diet and physical activity in West Java, Indonesia
The association between economic development, lifestyle differentiation and C-reactive protein concentrations within rural communities in Hainan Island, China
Effects of short-term exposure to ambient particulate matter and temperature on lung function of school children in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Influence of gender and genetic polymorphisms on inorganic arsenic metabolism and oxidative stress among arsenic-exposed Bangladeshi Population
Recent Master’s Theses
Dietary determinants of nutritional status of Karen children in a mountainous area in Tak province, Thailand: Investigation using direct food weighing, food frequency questionnaire, and anthropometry
MST Roksana KHAN
The association between short-term exposure to fine particulate matter and daily emergency room visits at a cardiovascular hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Preterm birth rates in Japan and their associated factors: Analysis of national vital statistics and Internet-based survey data
Marinjho Emely Hilla JONDUO
Lifestyle, nutritional status and microbiota: An association study in Papua New Guinea Highlands
The choice and perception of drinking water among slum area residents in Bandung city, Indonesia
The association between the neighborhood food environment and dietary intake among elderly people in a metropolitan suburb: a case study in Kisarazu, Japan
Jennifer Tokiko FILLMAN
Effects of arsenic and cadmium exposure on salivary telomere length and cognitive function in adolescents in Terai, Nepal
Risk factors of severe hand, foot, mouth disease in Hainan Island, China
The association between temperature and hospital visits for asthma in a subtropical city, Dhaka
Intestinal permeability and growth faltering of 6-24-month-old children in Chitral district, Pakistan
Physical activity and neighborhood environment in heavy snowfall areas: The roles of “gangi-dori”
Study on food intake and physical activity pattern of Sundanese villagers in West Java, Indonesia
Impacts of lifestyle changes on “stress” in minority populations in Hainan Island, China
Ping Han SER
Effects of arsenic exposure during pregnancy on maternal and infant immunoglobulin G levels in Bangladesh
Staff & Students
Kyi Mar Wai
Atsushi Nobayashi (Professor, National Museum of Ethnology)
Kazumi Natsuhara (Professor, Toho University)
Shinsuke Tomita (Associate Professor, Nagoya University)
See HERE for our publication list.
Medical Building No. 3 Annex, University of Tokyo,
7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033 JAPAN
office [at] humeco.m.u-tokyo.ac.jp