On Reindeer Herders and Powerlifting

Cara Ocobock is an assistant professor of anthropology at Notre Dame. A biological anthropologist, she is the director of the Human Energetics Laboratory and explores the physiological and behavioral mechanisms necessary to cope with and adapt to extreme climate and physical activity. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Foundation, and the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Last fall was Cara’s first semester at Notre Dame, and we didn’t wait long before asking her to do one of our Research Uncorked live shows at Ironhand Wine Bar in South Bend. She and host Ted Fox got together again in March to record this episode, starting with the work that’s taken her to the Arctic Circle to study the characteristics of a population whose experience in the extreme cold could hold valuable lessons for all of us.

It also may involve Santa Claus’s hometown.

From there, Cara and Ted talked about potential insights into the adaptations of a past cold-climate population, the Neanderthals, before changing gears to discuss her research at the intersection of anthropology and sports, which has grown out of a challenging personal journey as a powerlifter.

Yes, she really is as cool as she sounds.

Office of the Provost
About the Podcast:

With a Side of Knowledge is a podcast produced at the University of Notre Dame. It features interviews with fascinating people from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that take place over brunch—or if we’re really in a pinch, coffee.

Learn More

April 16, 2020

Health and SocietyScience and TechnologyHuman Energetics LaboratoryCara OcobockpowerliftingclimateNotre DamepodcastAnthropologyCollege of Arts and LettersSportsWith a Side of Knowledge