Research Interests: My lab analyzes molecular genetic variation in order to reconstruct the evolutionary history and relationships of human populations and human pathogens. Specifically, I am interested in 1) biocultural evolution of populations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula, 2) processes of colonization and migration as revealed in East Asia and the New World, 3) investigation of the genetic and cultural components that affect risk of developing complex diseases using hypertension as a model system, and 4) use of ancient DNA to reconstruct past genetic diversity and evolutionary history. We assay genetic variants in the mitochondrial genome, the sex chromosomes, and the autosomes in order to provide the most complete and accurate representation of human evolution. For disease studies, we focus on candidate genes and for ancient DNA studies, we assay high copy number genes or genomes, such as mitochondrial DNA. We study populations from around the world with an emphasis on Horn of Africa/Arabian, New World, and East Asian groups.
We are analyzing molecular genetic variation in human populations located throughout the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula to test hypotheses concerning migrations across the Red Sea and the evolution of language and food production methods. This region of the world is known to be important for the emergence of anatomically modern humans, but it is also important for more recent evolution. We are interested in determining the origin and directionality of migrations across the Red Sea and the evolution of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Mitochondrial, X and Y, and autosomal genes and variants are assayed in order to address these questions. Specific regions of interest include Ethiopia, Eritrea, Oman and Yemen. Additional countries will be included as the project develops.
Requirements: Strong commitment to and adequate time for a research experience (at least 2 semesters commitment is desirable). Some basic lab experience is required and knowledge of PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis is a plus.
Time Commitment: At least 3 credit hours per semester
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