Christopher Golden

Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Planetary Health

Department of Nutrition

Department of Environmental Health

Department of Global Health and Population


The MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research) team in one of their focal research sites.

I am an ecologist and epidemiologist interested in the interface of ecosystem service provisioning and human health, specifically in the context of global trends in biodiversity loss and ecosystem transformation. Through funding from the Wellcome Trust, Rockefeller Foundation, and National Science Foundation, I am able to work on a breadth of topics under the umbrella of planetary health. With a wide range of colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, I am studying the human health impacts of ecosystem services. Please visit my research projects webpage to see what our group is studying.

Since 1999, I have been conducting ecological and public health research in Madagascar. Most broadly, I am interested in local people’s dependence on natural resources for obtaining adequate health. This interest has led to various studies into connections between marine and terrestrial wildlife consumption and the incidence of micronutrient deficiencies, the importance of botanical ethnomedicines and geophagy to local health, and the eco-epidemiology of malaria and the human microbiome given current trends in biodiversity loss and land use change. Beyond Madagascar, I have been leading a collaborative research program that evaluates the connections among climate change, fisheries management and ocean governance, and food security and human nutrition in coastal populations around the world. Given trends in mass fisheries declines, coral bleaching, and raising sea surface temperatures that will drive fisheries away from the Equator and toward the Poles, food-insecure populations across the globe will be deprived of a critical nutritional resource. Our group tackles this subject by modeling potential health futures and determining what types of interventions may be able to buffer against these impacts.