John F. Martin's research focuses on the interrelations between biology and the economic and political dimensions of social life. He has published on the effects of economic variables and population structure on the sizes and compositions of local groups among hunter-gathers, the effects of population variables on kin marriage systems and on systems of inheritance and succession.
More recently, this focus on the interrelations of power and economics with biology has led him to analyses of the epidemiology of type 2 diabetes (aka non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) and to experimental studies exploring its physiological bases. The experimental work confirms previous research that indicates that, while fetal protein malnutrition permanently impairs insulin secretory capacity, it does not induce insulin resistance. Hence, the pathway to diabetes that involves insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretory capacity does not begin in the diabetic's fetal life unless post natal over-nutrition induces insulin resistance. However, fetal malnutrition induced impaired insulin secretory capacity does predispose fetally malnourished females to hyperglycemic pregnancies which in turn predispose their offspring to insulin resistance and chronic hyperinsulinemia.
His preliminary findings suggest that the chronic hyperinsulinemia through its effects on free fatty acid and glucocorticoid concentrations eventually reduce insulin secretory capacity and leads to diabetes. Since high diabetes prevalence rate populations are uniformly populations that have recently suffered widespread, severe malnutrition due to political and economic factors, the suggestion is that their diabetes epidemics are rooted in the fetal malnutrition of women who were conceived during those famines because the offspring of those women were insulin resistant and prone to both diabetic pregnancies and diabetes.
Ph.D. University of Chicago
Pathways to Insulin Resistance And Type II Diabetes
Benyshek, D., Johnston, C. & Martin, J. F. (2006). Glucose metabolism is altered in the adequately nourished grand-offspring (F3 generation) of rats malnourished in utero. Diabetologia, 49(5), 1117-1119.
Benyshek, D., Johnston, C. & Martin, J. (2004). Post-natal diet determines insulin resistance in fetally malnourished low birthweight rats (F1) but does not modify the insulin resistance of their offspring (F2). Life Sciences, 74(24), 3033-3041.
Benyshek, D., Martin, J. & Johnston, C. (2001). A reconsideration of the origins of the type 2 diabetes epidemic among Native Americans and the implications for intervention policy. Medical Anthropology, 20, 25-64.
Martin, J., Johnston, C., Han, C-T. & Benyshek, D. (2000). Nutritional origins of insulin resistance: A rat model for diabetes-prone human populations. Journal of Nutrition, 1130, 741-744.
Daniel Benyshek, Carol Johnston, John Martin. Glucose metabolism is altered in the adequately nourished grand-offspring (F3 generation) of rats malnourished in utero. Diabetologia (2006).
D Benyshek, C Johnston, John Martin. Post-natal diet determines insulin resistance in fetally malnourished, low birthweight rats (F1) but diet does not modify insulin the insulin resistance of their offspring (F2). Life Sciences (2004).
D Benyshek, C Johnston, John Martin. A Reconsideration of the Origins of the Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic among Native Americans and the Implications for Intervention Policy. Medical Anthropology (2001).
Martin,John F*. DEMO. VAR. & SOCIAL ORG. AMONG IBAN OF W.KALIMANTAN, INDONES. NSF-SBE(9/1/1991 - 8/31/1994).
Anthropology and Education Quarterly, manuscript reviewer (2005 - Present)
British Medical Journal, manuscript reviewer (2005 - Present)
Professional Conduct Committee, member (2006 - 2007)
Space Committee, member (2006 - 2006)
Search Commitee for position in Biological and Cultural Dimensions of Health and Disease, Chair (2004 - 2005)
Research and Development Commitee, Member (2003 - 2005)
CLAS Research Review Board, Chair, Social--Behavioral Subcommittee on Individual Investigator Grants (2003 - 2004)
Anthropology Chair Search Committee, Member (2003 - 2003)
CLAS Research Review Board, Chair, Social & Behavioral Subcommittee (2003)
CLAS Research Review Board, Chair, Social-Behavioral Subcommittee on Multi-Investigator grants (2003)
CLAS Research Review Board, Member (spring 2003) same committees as chaired in fall 2003 (2003)