I am an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. My group uses DNA recovered from bones and other remains to study how species evolved through time and how human activities affected this dynamic process. My PhD research developed tools to infer changes in species’ abundance and distribution from chronological samples of genetic data. I have since used these to trace evolutionary changes in organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture, and pathogen evolution. Our current work develops techniques to recover increasingly trace amounts of DNA such as from environmental and forensic samples. I am also a popular science author and communicator who uses my research as a platform to explore the potential of genomic technologies for conservation and medicine.

Awards and Achievements

  • MacArthur Fellowship
  • HHMI Investigator