John Lindo’s publication in The American Journal of Human Genetics is featured in Emory News. Dr. Lindo specializes in both the molecular and computational aspects of Ancient DNA research. He presents his work on the Native American Tsimshian tribe and their population changes based on DNA research.
“I want to help Native American tribes to reclaim knowledge of their very ancient evolutionary histories — histories that have been largely wiped away because of colonialism,” says Emory geneticist John Lindo in the Emory News article.
Michelle Lampl, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of Human Health, will receive the Emory University Exemplary Teacher Award (formerly known as Scholar-Teacher Award) at Commencement Monday May 14th. Congratulations!
At our Honors and Awards Luncheon on Friday, April 27, the Anthropology department recognized our six Anthropology undergraduate students who successfully defended honors theses this year. These students are scheduled to graduate with honors on May 14. Please join us in congratulating these students on their hard work and accomplishment!
2018 Honors Students
Soukaina Akdim – Tattooed Bodies: Embodying and Expressing Identity
Advised by Liv Nilsson Stutz
Gordon Hong – From the Horn of Africa to Clarkston, Georgia: Subjective Well-Being of East African Immigrants and Refugees
Advised by Peter Little
Amelia Howell – Booty Hop and the Snake: Race, Gender, and Identity in an Atlanta Strip Club
Advised by Liv Nilsson Stutz
Sharon Hsieh – Treatment Adherence Patterns in Rural Georgian Veterans with Sleep Apnea: An Anthropological Approach
Advised by Carol Worthman
Rebecca Lebeaux – 100 Years Later: Modeling Why a Modern-Day Influenza Pandemic Would Still Disproportionately Affect Low and Middle-Income Countries
Advised by Craig Hadley
Rashika Verma – Just What the Doctor Ordered? Exploring Doctors’ Perspectives on Food Insecurity and Health Outcomes in an Urban Georgia Food Desert
Advised by Mel Konner
“What do giant rats and tiny ‘Hobbits’ have in common? They both lived on a tiny island in Indonesia and form an important piece of the puzzle for uncovering what it means to be human.”
This is the focus of Grace Veatch’s dissertation research, as she analyzes thousands of tiny and giant sized rat bones that were recovered in a cave site along with a human ancestor named Homo floresiensis.
“I hope to understand how these ‘Hobbit’s’ incorporated small mammals into their diet, and how this might compare to how modern humans also use this vital resource on an island depauperate of large game. Check out my research showcased in an online article through Sapiens.org for more information about this exciting research happening here in the Anthropology Department at Emory University.”
Gabriela Sheets receives the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Dissertation Award for her 2017 dissertation on “The Developmental Ecology of the Infant Microbiome”.
The Committee describes Sheets’ work as “novel meshing of anthropology and biology to explore an emerging area of general interest,” and thought it was likely to “make important contributions well beyond the medical anthropology community.” One member called it an “exemplar in where science should go.”
“Recognition begs reflection, and reflection begs gratitude. The beast that this dissertation was to become invited me on a marvelous journey through the lives, stories and biologies of many Salvadoran families, for which I am forever grateful. Before my observing eye, life spilled out. She sometimes clumsily, but always excitedly, tripped over herself to whisper her secrets and to weave her tales through the human body. Even under and around the long shadows of death where meaning was mute, her whispers sounded. Thank you Emory for the opportunity to research questions that excite me, always supported by frameworks rooted in our anthropological and biological heritage. I hope to make even a small difference with the tools and drive that you provided for me.” Gabriela Sheets
Finding ancient human remains in Africa is rare and most of the work done in this field is recent. A lot has happened in the last few years however. Emory’s eScienceCommons detailed Dr. Thompson’s role in the research.
Dr. Jessica Thompson hopes to learn more about migration patterns from the DNA of bones discovered in Malawi. It shows that the hunter gatherers that lived there as recently as 2,000 years ago are not genetically related to today’s population. Scientists previously relied on tools left behind to create migrations patterns. DNA now gives answers to whether populations mixed or whether one was forced out. The oldest samples from Malawi are over 8,000 years old. Dr. Thompson had help from graduate student Kendra Sirak with dating and DNA extraction of the 8,100 year old skeleton.
The work that Dr. Thompson collaborated in was featured in the New York Times.
Ancient DNA analysis can reveal insight into past populations on many levels. Unfortunately, accessing the osseous labyrinth inside the petrous bone, which has the highest concentration of endogenous DNA of any skeletal element, creates a problem for analysis: It requires intact skeletal remains.
PhD candidate Kendra Sirak has developed a new technique to access the osseous labyrinth without the damage done by established techniques. She details the process in her paper published in BioTechniques and has taught the technique to experts in ten different countries, which has allowed them to perform the procedure independently.