Barbara Fischer

Elise Richter Fellow, Researcher, Data Scientist

University of Vienna


I am an evolutionary biologist and data scientist with a background in mathematics and theoretical biology. My research focuses on the evolution of birth in humans. I am an Elise Richter fellow at the Unit of Theoretical Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology of the University of Vienna, Austria. In addition to my research, I consider teaching and communicating science important parts of my work. I enjoy giving popular science talks as well as writing articles for a general audience and I have authored a textbook for high school biology.


  • Evolutionary Medicine
  • Biostatistics and Data Science
  • Science Communication


  • PhD in Ecology and Evolution, 2010

    Department of Biology, University of Berne, Switzerland

  • MSc in Biomathematics, 2006

    Faculty of Mathematics, University of Vienna

Recent Publications

We Should Abandon “Race” as a Biological Category in Biomedical Research

In 2019, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists issued a statement on biological aspects of race, concluding that “pure …

Humans as inverted bats: A comparative approach to the obstetric conundrum

Objectives: The narrow human birth canal evolved in response to multiple opposing selective forces on the pelvis. These factors cannot …

Allometry and sexual dimorphism in the human pelvis

Sexual dimorphism in the human pelvis has evolved in response to several jointly acting selection regimes that result from the pelvis’ …

Reply to Grossman: The role of natural selection for the increase of Caesarean section rates

Recently, we presented the “cliff-edge model” (1) to explain why natural selection has not reduced the high rates of fetopelvic …

Cliff-edge model of obstetric selection in humans

The strikingly high incidence of obstructed labor due to the disproportion of fetal size and the mother’s pelvic dimensions has puzzled …


Barbara Fischer at KLI

Barbara Fischer at KLI2

Press Coverage

My research has been widely featured by the international and national press, including many notable publishing outlets. Below is a selection of some recent articles covering my work.

Recent & Upcoming Talks


2020-2021 academic year (2020W):

300357 UE Mathematical Basics for Quantitative Biology

earlier teaching at the University of Vienna


  • b.fischer@univie.ac.at
  • Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • Spange 4, Ebene 2, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Unit for Theoretical Biology