Laure Spake

Research Associate, Instructor


Laure Spake is a Research Associate and an Instructor in the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University. She is a biological anthropologist whose work focuses on children, their health, and their growth. Her work integrates evolutionary frameworks and biological perspectives to better understand the links between early life stress and later life outcomes.

Dr. Spake’s currently works on the Evolutionary Demography of Religion Project. The aims of this project are to understand whether and how belonging to the same religion promotes cooperation between individuals, and in turn, whether this increase in cooperation leads to better health outcomes for children raised in religious families. As part of this project, Dr. Spake leads mixed-method fieldwork in the Gambia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can learn more about the project here.

Prior to joining the Evolutionary Demography of Religion Project, Dr. Spake trained as a bioarchaeologist and forensic anthropologist. She has worked with the BC Coroner’s Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada, both in the field and in the lab. She co-organizes Rchaeology, an online community for R users in archaeology, and is committed to implementing open science practices in her work.

In her free time, Dr. Spake is an avid trail runner, climber, and all around mountain enthusiast.

Learn more about Dr. Spake’s research in the following places: