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. Kelly Harkins:
Dr. Harkins is a NSF postdoctural fellow with specialties in Molecular bioarchaeology, ancient genetics, NGS methods, pathogen evolution, skeletal pathology, disease. She uses ancient DNA to identify the genetic signatures of past infections for the purpose of furthering her knowledge on the evolutionary and anthropogenic processes associated with the emergence of human diseases. She is also active in method development for paleogenetic and forensic research.
Dr. Jannine Forst:
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.
Cristina Verdugo (Graduate Researcher):
Christina conducts graduate research that critically evaluates the role of human skeletal sacrifice in ancient maya political and religious practices through the study of the Midnight Terror Cave human skeletal collection.
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.
Ainash Chidebayeva (Graduate Researcher, U Michigan):
Ainash is a graduate researcher from the University of Michigan whose focus is on altitude adaptation in the andes. Using a combination of modern and ancient DNA techniques, she studies how epigenetic and genetic markers interact to establish high-altitude adaptive phenotypes in modern populations, and how genetic aspects of this adaptation change over time.
Miguel Onate (Undergraduate Research Assistant):
Miguel is an undergraduate assistant, double majoring in Anthropology and Molecular Biology. He has interests in ancient genetics, paleopathology, and molecular methods.
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.
Chris Dory (Undergraduate Research Assistant):
Chris is a combined anthropology and earth sciences major at UCSC. He oversees database integrity and sample cataloguing at the Human Paleogenomics Lab.
Former Lab Members: