Julienne Rutherford, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

I am a biological anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I teach maternal physiology to Nurse Midwifery and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Master's students in the Department of Women, Children, and Family Health Science at the UIC College of Nursing.  I am also an adjunct assistant professor in the UIC Department of Anthropology.
All of my research questions revolve around a central interest in the dynamic maternal environment in which a fetus develops. I am primarily interested in the primate placenta as a signaling interface between mother and fetus. I work with both humans and non-human primates to address questions regarding the effect of maternal ecology (nutrition, life history experience, behavior) on placental morphology, metabolic function, and gene expression and downstream sequelae for offspring health both postnatally and later in life. I am also interested in how placental function shapes fetal brain development in primates. 

My work spans both human and non-human primate gestational and developmental biology in ecological and evolutionary contexts. My human work also addresses issues of health disparities, both in terms of intergenerational transmission of inequality and evidence-based clinical applications.


Current Area of Teaching
  • Female reproductive physiology and anatomy
  • Placental anatomy and function
  • Fetal development
  • Grantwriting
Selected Honors & Awards
  • 2013
    • UIC Researcher of the Year Rising Star in the Clinical Sciences ($5000)
  • 2013-2015
    • National Institutes of Health Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Program Award
  • 2013
    • Legacy Award (inaugural awardee), American Society of Primatologists ($10,000)
  • 2011-2012
    • American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellow 
  • 2010 
    • National Institutes of Health New Investigator Award, International Federation of Placenta Associations
  • 2009        
    • NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Young Investigator Award, Perinatal Research Society 
  • 2008 
    • National Institutes of Health New Investigator Award, International Federation of Placenta Associations New Investigator award, International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
    • Departmental (Anthropology) nominee for Esther L. Kinsley Award for Best Dissertation at Indiana University
  • 2005
    • Earnest Albert Hooton Prize for best student poster presentation, American Association of Physical Anthropologists. The fetal/placental ratio in Callithrix jacchus and its relation to litter size and intrauterine growth retardation
Selected Publications
  1. Clancy KBH, Nelson RG, Rutherford JN, and Hinde K. (2014) Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault. PLOS ONE http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102172
  2. Rutherford JN, deMartelly VA, Layne Colon DG, Ross CN, Tardif SD. (2014) Developmental Origins of Pregnancy Loss in the Adult Female Common Marmoset Monkey (Callithrix jacchus). PLoS One 9(5):e96845 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0096845 
  3. Harris RA, Tardif SD, Vinar R, Wildman D, Rutherford JN, Rogers J, Worley K, and Aagaard K. (2014) Evolutionary  genetics of dizygotic twinning and small body size in callitrichine primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(4): 1467-­‐72; open access pdf
  4. Tardif SD, Power ML, Ross CN, and Rutherford JN. (2013) Body mass growth in common marmosets:  Toward a model of pediatric obesity. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150(1): 21-28
  5. Rutherford JN. (2012) Toward a nonhuman primate model of fetal programming: Phenotypic plasticity of the common marmoset fetoplacental complex. Placenta 33(S2): e35-9
  6. deMartelly V, Hurley P, Lawrence M, Redmond Jr. DE, and Rutherford JN. (2012) Comparison of fresh to fixed weights of the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus) placenta. Journal of Medical Primatology 41(3): 158–62
  7. Clancy KHB, Hinde K, and Rutherford JN, editors. (2012) Building Babies: Primate Development in Proximate and Ultimate Perspective. Springer: New York.
  8. Rutherford JN. (2012) The primate placenta as an agent of developmental and health trajectories across the lifecourse. Chapter in: Clancy KHB, Hinde K, and Rutherford JN, editors; Building Babies: Primate Development in Proximate and Ultimate Perspective, pp. 27-53.  Springer: New York. 
  9. Abrams ET and Rutherford JN. (2012) Is postpartum hemorrhage a legacy of our evolutionary past? In: Keith L and Jones C (eds) of A Textbook of Postpartum Hemorrhage, 2nd edition, pp. 55-63. Sapiens: London. 
  10. Abrams ET and Rutherford JN. (2011) Framing Postpartum Hemorrhage as a Consequence of Human Placental Biology: An Evolutionary and Comparative Perspective. American Anthropologist 113(3): 417-430
  11. Saltzman W, Tardif SD, and Rutherford JN. (2010) Reproductive Cycles in Primates. In: Norris & Lopez (eds) Hormones and Reproduction, Volume 5: Vertebrates, pp. 291-327. Elsevier (Academic Press): London
  12. Rutherford JN, McDade TW, Lee NR, Adair LS, and Kuzawa CW. (2010) Change in waist circumference over 11 years and current waist circumference independently predict elevated CRP in Filipino women. American Journal of Human Biology 22: 310-315 
  13. Rutherford JN, McDade TW, Feranil AB, Adair LS, and Kuzawa CW. (2010) High prevalence of low HDL-c in the Philippines compared to the U.S.: population differences in associations with diet and BMI. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 19(1): 57-67 
  14. Rutherford JN, Eklund AE, Tardif SD. (2009) Placental insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) and its relation to litter size variation in the captive common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). American Journal of Primatology 71(12): 969-975 
  15. Rutherford JN. (2009) Fetal signaling through placental structure and endocrine function: illustrations and implications from a non-human primate model. American Journal of Human Biology 21(6): 745-753 
  16. Rutherford JN and Tardif SD. (2009) Mother's little helper? The placenta and its relation to maternal investment in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) In: Ford S, Davis L, and Porter L. (eds) The Smallest Anthropoids: the marmoset-callimico radiation, pp. 301-329. Springer: New York
  17. Rutherford JN and Tardif SD. (2009) Developmental plasticity of the microscopic placental architecture in relation to litter size variation in the common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus). Placenta 30:105-110
  18. Rutherford JN and Tardif SD. (2008) Placental efficiency and intrauterine resource allocation strategies in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137(1): 60
Current Research


  • Womb to Womb: programming reproductive development in female common marmoset monkeys (PI: R01HD076018, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; $1.75M total awarded, July 2013-June 2018)
  • The role of placental morphology and physiology in fetal brain development in the vervet monkey (PI: American Society of Primatologists; $10K directs only awarded, July 2013-June 2014)


  • Placental function as a mechanism for intergenerational influences on birth weight (human cohort study; http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/cebu/about) (PI:  1R01HD083370-01, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; $3.14M total
  • (PI: R03HD062715 completed)