Alberto Palloni

Position title: Professor Emeritus, Sociology


Phone: (608) 262-2182

4429 William H. Sewell Social Science Building
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI

Department of Sociology
More information
Curriculum vitae

Additional title: Senior Researcher Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC-Spain)


I was a NIH Merit Scholar on R37 AG025216, co-PI of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) R01 AG025216, R01 AG018016 and Director of Fogarty International Center award for Global Research Training in Population Health D43 TW001586 and PI of the Study PREHCO with R01 AG016209. I have also been the PI on several NIH funded projects that led to the collection of data on older people in seven countries in Latin America (SABE) and two NIA funded projects to test the conjecture that a significant part of adult US and European health and mortality disparities are rooted in conditions experienced early in life. Research on information from MHAS, PREHCO and SABE involves models for the study of obesity and smoking and the impact that of these phenotypes have on current and future patterns of adult mortality.

I am currently the PI of a large project funded by the European Research Council under European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. The project (ECHO: is hosted by the Institute for Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD) of Spain’s Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. The project aims to reformulate and generalize standard theories of human health and mortality. It proposes new formal models and a systematic agenda to empirically test hypotheses that link developmental biology, epigenetics and adult human illness, disability and mortality. It seeks to break new ground developing innovative formal models for illnesses and mortality, testing new hypotheses about the evolution of human health and, to the extent permitted by findings, reformulating standard theories to make them applicable to a less restrictive segment of populations than they are now.

I have contributed extensively to the study of mortality trends, heath and mortality disparities and to the literature on the Hispanic paradox. I continue this work illustrating disparities in SES mortality and health gradients across Hispanics and non-Hispanics in the US and Mexican born individuals.

In collaboration with Guido Pinto and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez, we generated and released a massive data base containing nearly 450 life tables for 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean covering the period 1850-2010. The database, LAMBdA, is publicly available and plans are being designed to attempt harmonization with already existing mortality databases. The database is the foundation of new empirical analysis that attempt to illustrate the effects the consequence of Barker frailty.

My current research includes (i) theory and formal demographic models of relations between early childhood conditions and adult health on older adult trajectories of health, mortality, and longevity, (ii) Agent Base Models and application of mathematical demographic and population genetics models to study obesity (and Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disability and mortality) that seek to assess the role of vertical genetic and cultural inheritance, gene-environment interactions, maternal constraints and intragenerational inertia; (iii) models for estimating biological age (BA) using biomarkers, epigenetic indicators, and microbiome characteristics (iv) microsimulation models to assess the impact of delayed effects of early conditions on adult morbidity, disability and mortality. These models integrate modules to assess the impact of mediating pathways involving the epigenome and its association with maternal and child nutrition.

CDE research theme area affiliations

Demography of Inequality; Health and the Life Course; Biodemography; Formal Demography

Selected Publications

Palloni, Alberto, Beatriz Novak, and Guido Pinto-Aguirre. “The Enduring Effects of Smoking in Latin America.” American Journal of Public Health 105, no. 6 (2015): 1246-53. PubMed Central ID 4431107.

Beltrán-Sánchez, Hiram, Alberto Palloni, Fernando Riosmena, and Rebeca Wong. “Ses Gradients among Mexicans in the United States and in Mexico: A New Twist to the Hispanic Paradox?”. Demography 53, no. 5 (2016): 1555-81. PubMed Central ID 5161411.

Palloni, Alberto, and Hiram Beltran-Sanchez. “Discrete Barker Frailty and Warped Mortality Dynamics at Older Ages.” Demography (2017): 655-71. PubMed Central ID 5490246.

Herd, Pamela, Alberto Palloni, Federico Rey, and Jennifer B. Dowd. “Social and Population Health Science Approaches to Understand the Human Microbiome.” Nature Human Behavior, 2018

Dill-McFarland, Kimberly, Zheng-Zheng Tang, Julia H. Kemis, Robert L. Kerby, Guanhua Chen, Alberto Palloni, Thomas Sorenson, Federico Rey, and Pamela Herd. “Close Social Relationships Correlate with Human Gut Microbiota Composition.” Scientific Reports 9 (2019): article number 703.

A. Palloni, M. McEniry, Yiyue Huangfu and H. Beltran-Sanchez, “Impacts of the 1918 flu on survivors’ nutritional status: a double quasi-natural experiment” PLOS (2020)

A. Palloni, H. Beltran-Sanchez and G. Pinto. “Estimation of older-adult mortality from information distorted by systematic age misreporting” Population Studies, May 2021;

Beltrán-Sánchez, H., Palloni, A., Huangfu, Y. and McEniry, M. “Modeling biological age and its link to the aging process” PNAS Nexus, 2022, 1 (3):1-9.

Y. Huangfu, Palloni, A., Betran-Sanchez, H. and Mceniry, M. 2023 “Gene-environment interactions and the case of body mass index and obesity: how much do they matter? PNAS Nexus, 2023, 2:1-10