Collegium Helveticum

Paola Cerrito
Early-Career Fellow 2022–2023
Affiliate 2024–2025

Fellowship duration
November 01, 2023–March 15, 2024

Institutional website
Associated with

Dr. Paola Cerrito (born 1990 in Rome, Italy) is a biological anthropologist. Her research focuses on the selective pressures and proximal mechanisms that have shaped and allowed for the evolution of our peculiar life history and cooperative breeding behavior. This kind of research requires contributions from a variety of disciplines such as hominin paleobiology, primate comparative neurobiology and communication, or life history theory.

Paola received her PhD in 2022 from New York University. In her doctoral thesis, she investigated the ways in which metabolically significant events such as reproduction, menopause and lifestyle changes are permanently recorded in the skeleton, which acts as a biological archive of a person’s life. Her research has been funded by several agencies, including the National Science Foundation (USA) and has been featured by numerous news outlets, e.g. CNN, The Guardian or Slate. At New York University she taught undergraduate courses in Human Evolution in addition to carrying out outreach activities at several science institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History.

Since August 2023, Paola has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Zurich. In July 2024, Paola will be appointed tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University, USA.