The Lab Assembled:
Dr. Lars Fehren-Schmitz (PI):
Dr. Fehren-Schmitz is both a physical anthropology professor at UCSC and principle investigator for the Human Paleogenomics lab. His research focuses on furthering the understanding of South American population history through altitude adaptation and human-environment systems.
Dr. Jannine Forst (Postdoctoral Fellow):
Dr. Forst studies past patterns of health and disease in South America through the use of ancient DNA and its associated population genetics data. She is also active in Ancient DNA method development.
Dr. Matthew Jobin (Postdoctoral Fellow):
Matthew’s research interests include computational biology, paleogenomics, Neandertal/Denisovan introgression, approximate Bayesian computation, hominid prehistory and bioinformatics.
Cristina Verdugo (Graduate Researcher):
Cristina’s research focuses on the role of human sacrifice in ancient Maya political and religious practices through the application of paleogenetic and osteological analyses to the Midnight Terror Cave (MTC) human skeletal assemblage. This collection consists of over 10,000 skeletal elements and constitutes the largest sacrificial assemblage from the southern lowlands. In combining these approaches, her research explores the political and social complexities inherent in the process of selecting individuals for human sacrifice.
Eden Washburn (Graduate Researcher):
Eden is a PhD candidate at UC Santa Cruz. Using a combination of Stable Isotope Analysis and Ancient DNA, Her research focuses on understanding human-environmental interaction and long-term population dynamics in the Andean-Amazonian Divide.
Kalina Kassadjikova (Graduate Researcher):
Kalina is currently studying the genetics of colonial slavery. She is interested in collaborating with descendants to better understand the biological and cultural processes of the African Diaspora as they affect individuals and communities in archaeological, historical, and contemporary contexts.
Kimberly Zhu (Undergraduate Research Assistant):
Kim is a anthropology and environmental studies undergraduate working in the Human Paleogenomics Lab with interests in archaeology, forensic anthropology, and primatology.
Emelia Paige Wood (Undergraduate Research Assistant):
Paige is an undergraduate research assistant double majoring in Human Biology and Anthropology. She has specific interests in pathology, viruses, and evolution. She pursues a career in medicine.
Lara Berg (Undergraduate Research Assistant):
Lara is a double major of MCD Biology and German Studies. Of these two disciplines and all their subsets genetics has always been her favorite. This love of genetics eventually lead her to the Human Paleogenomics Lab where she has been helping run PCR’s and expanding libraries.
Christopher Dory (Undergraduate Research Assistant):
Christopher is a combined Anthropology and Earth Sciences major at UCSC. He oversees database integrity and sample cataloging at the Human Paleogenomics Lab.
Former Lab Members: