Departments of Anthropology and Biology
Interdisciplinary Graduate programs in Bioinformatics & Genomics and Ecology
Pennsylvania State University
WHAT WE DO:
Paleogenomics (ancient DNA)
Human rainforest hunter-gatherer evolutionary ecology
Human impacts on non-human evolutionary biology
Parasites as proxies for human evolution
Madagascar human-environment interaction & lemur evolutionary ecology
Projects in our lab are broadly motivated by hypotheses about human evolutionary ecology -- how we have adapted to our variable or changing environments -- and how human behavior has affected the evolutionary biology of other species sharing our ecosystems. Most of our projects have major genomics laboratory and computational components. Some projects involve the collection of complementary ecological data at sites in Madagascar, Uganda, and Peru. When possible, we incorporate functional analyses into our studies, for example via experiments with parasites and cell lines (including with induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs). In addition to our modern DNA lab, we have a separate ancient DNA (paleogenomics) lab where we work with the bones and teeth of individuals from extinct species or from prehistoric populations of extant species. Our research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. See our Projects page for details.
Students are welcome to design studies related to the lab’s current projects, or to develop new programs of research that address distinct hypotheses concerning human or non-human primate evolution. Prospective graduate students may apply through the Anthropology, Biology, Ecology, or Bioinformatics & Genomics programs, depending on their background and interests. A flyer highlighting the Anthropology graduate program can be downloaded by clicking here.