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Lab Alumni

For the alumni of the laboratory, information about their projects, theses, dissertations and current work are included in short bios for them.

Post-Doctoral Fellows & Technicians

Dr. Miguel Vilar

Post-Doctoral Fellow, PennPORT Program, School of Medicine, 2010-13
Research: Genographic Project.
Status: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland.

Dr. Sergey Zhadanov

Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2005-11
Research: Genographic Project and Mitochondrial Disease Project.
Status: Diagnostic Radiologist, Marshfield Clinic, Inc., Wisconsin.

Dr. Amanda Owings

Research Specialist, 2008-12.
Research: Genographic Project.
Status: Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Emory University

Visiting Scholars

Muhammad Tariq

Ph.D., Department of Genetics, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan, 2016.
Dissertation: “Genetic Analysis of the Major Tribes of Buner and Swabi Areas through Dental Morphology and DNA Analysis.”
Co-Advisor: Dr. Habib Ahmad, Department of Genetics, Hazara University Mansehra, Pakistan.
Status: Assistant Professor, Centre for Omic Sciences, Islamia College Peshawar, Pakistan.

Ines Badano

Ph.D., University of Misiones, Posadas, Argentina, 2008.
Dissertation: “Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection among Native Communities (Guarani Indians) from Misiones, Argentina.”
Advisor: Dr. Domingo Liotta, Universidad Nacional de Misiones, Posadas, Misiones, Argentina.
Status: Assistant Professor, Laboratorio de Biología Molecular Aplicada, Universidad Nacional de Misiones, Posadas, Misiones, Argentina.

Ayken Askapuli

M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Thesis: “Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup C Phylogeny for Altaian Populations and Its Implications for the Peopling of Siberia and the Americas.”
Status: PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin

Ph.D. Students

Aylar Abdolahzedah

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2022
Dissertation: “Understanding the Patterns of Fire Use among Middle and Late Pleistocene European Hominins: Burned Lithics and Bones as Two Indirect Indicators of Fire Use.”
Status: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

Elizabeth Oakley

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2022
Dissertation: “From Einstein to Everyday Life: Investigating the Cultural Domains of Science in Museums.”
Status: Biology and History Teacher, Merion Mercy Academy, Merion, PA.

Raquel Fleskes

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2021.
Dissertation: “Archaeo-Genomics of 17th & 18th Century Eastern North America: Insights Into European Colonization and the African Diaspora.”
Status: Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut.

Meagan Rubel

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2019.
Dissertation: “Effects of Diet and Parasites on the Gut Microbiota of Diverse Sub-Saharan Africans.”
Co-Advisor: Sarah Tishkoff, Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania.
Status: Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Translational Imaging and Precision Medicine, UC-San Diego

Aram Yardumian

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2015.
Dissertation: “Genetic Diversity in Svaneti and the Highland Western Caucasus.”
Status: Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Bryn Athyn College.

Jill Gaieski

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2013.
Dissertation: “Native Bermudians and their Indigenous North American Heritage: The Anthropologies of a Diasporic, Postcolonial, Descendant Community.” Co-Advisor: Robert Schuyler, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania.
Status: Senior Research Program Manager, Department of Family Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Matthew Dulik

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Dissertation: “A Molecular Anthropological Study of Altaian Histories Utilizing Population Genetics and Phylogeography.”
Status: Director, Division of Genomic Diagnostics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Babb

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Dissertation: “Molecular Evolution of Vasopression and Oxytocin Receptor Genes in Owl Monkeys (Aotus azarai) of Northern Argentina.”
Co-Advisor: Dr. Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Department of Anthropology, Yale University.
Status: Research Scientist, Takara Bio USA,, Inc.

Ömer Gökçumen

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2008.
Dissertation: “Ethnohistorical and Genetic Survey of Four Central Anatolian Settlements.”
Status: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Buffalo.

Samara Rubinstein

Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, Temple University, 2006.
Dissertation: “Russian Old Believers: Genetic Consequences of Their Isolation, as Shown by Mitochondrial DNA Evidence.”
Co-Advisor: Jonathan Friedlaender, Department of Anthropology, Temple University.
Status: Content Curator, Akademische Rätin auf Zeit, Biotopia – Naturkundemuseum Bayern, Münich, Germany.

Louise Tiranoff

Ph.D., American Civilization Program, University of Pennsylvania, 2004.
Dissertation: “The Evolution of a Communication Tool: Autism Spectrum Disorders Risk Alert (ASDRA) – A Case Study of GeneticaLens.”
Co-Advisor: Dr. Melvin Hammarberg, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. Status: Founder/Managing Director, GeneticaLens.

Master’s Students

Akshay Walia

M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2019.
Thesis: “Borders Demarcated at the Molecular Level Incorporation of Genetic Testing in the Refugee Admissions Process.”
Research: Caucasus Genetic History Project and the Genographic Project, 2010-15.

Sarah Hatz

M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Thesis: “Neandertal Dental Hypoplasias and Other Dental Markings: Implications for the Relationship between Neandertals and Modern Humans.”
Status: Clinical Trial Manager, Advanced Accelerator Applications, a Novartis Company, Millburn, NJ.

John Lindo

M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2010.
Thesis: “Sexually Dimorphic Calls in the Owl Monkey (Aotus azarai): Evidence for an Alarm Function against Adult Replacement.”
Advisor: Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Department of Anthropology, Yale University.
Research: Genographic Project, 2009-10.
Status: Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Emory University

Matthew Dulik

M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2005.
Thesis: “An Osteometric Study of Human Remains for Level IV B and Hasanlu Iran.”
Status: Director, Division of Genomic Diagnostics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania.

Aram Yardumian

M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2005.
Thesis: “Who are the Anatolian Turks?”
Status: Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Bryn Athyn College.

Undergraduate Students

Yanu Kume-Kangkolo

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2021.
Research: Georgia Genetic History Project, ASABG Project (Charleston) Project, 2020-21.
Status: TBD

Redate Kibret

B.A., Department of Geography and Anthropology, Bryn Athyn College, 2020.
Research: Georgia Genetic History Project, ASABG Project (Charleston), and the Chesapeake Genetic History Project, 2019-20.
Status: TBD

Adeyemi Oduwole

B.A., Department of Biology, College of Charleston, 2019.
Research: Anson Street African Burial Ground Project, 2018-19.
Status: Masters in Public Health Student, Icahn School of Medicine, Temple University.

Brian Sajorda

B.A., Departments of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2017.
Research: Georgia Genetic History Project, 2016-17.
Status: Medical Student, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Taryn MacKinney

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2017.
Thesis: “Mitochondrial DNA Diversity of Saint Vincent and Trinidad and Its Implications for Caribbean Settlement History.”
Status: Investigative Researcher, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Ari Coopersmith

B.A., Department of Anthropology, Swarthmore College, 2017.
Research: Genographic Project, 2016-17.
Status: Medical Student, University of California-San Francisco Medical School.

Akiva Sanders

B.A., Departments of Biology & Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2016.
Research: Georgia Genetic History Project and the Genographic Project, 2015-16.
Status: Doctoral Student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago.

Hannah Cabot

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2016.
Thesis: “Reconstructing the Population History of the Huichols of Central Mexico through Mitochondrial DNA Analysis.”
Status: Consultant, Putnam & Associates, London.

Daniel Brooks

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2015.
Thesis: “Genetic Variation in Native Mexican Populations.”
Status: Pediatrics-Medical Genetics Resident, Baylor College of Medicine.

Kimby Rosenthal

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2015.
Research: Genographic Project and medical genetics projects, 2013-15.
Status: TBD

Andrew Azzam

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2015.
Research: Georgia Project, Genographic Project, Mito disease Project, 2014-15.
Status: Medical Student, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Brianna Gardner

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2014.
Research: Genographic Project, 2011-13.
Status: PhD Student, Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Joice Pedroso Santos

B.A., Department of General Biology, Federal University of Minas Gerais, 2014.
Research: Genographic Project, 2013-14. Status: TBD

Haleigh Zillges

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2013.
Thesis: “The Genetic History of the Otomi in the Central Mexican Valley.”
Status: J.D. Candidate and Research Fellow, Fordham University Law School.

Kristi Edleson

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2013.
Research: Georgia Genetic History Project, 2012-13.
Status: National Healthcare Recruiter, The Judge Group.

Rosa Zedek

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Research: Genographic Project, 2011-12.
Status: Designer, OJB Landscape Architecture, Philadelphia.

Shobana Ramasamy

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Research: Genographic Project, 2011-12.
Status: MD, Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Jennifer Tinsman (née Crick)

B.A., Department of Biology, Swarthmore College, 2012.
Research: Behavioral Genetics of Owl Monkeys Project, 2011-12.
Status: Senior Research Fellow, UCLA Center for Tropical Research.

Ryan Zahalka

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Research: Genographic Project, 2011-12.
Status: Resident, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Rachel Gittelman

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Thesis: “The Role of ALDH3A1 Variation in Climatic Droplet Keratopathy in the Mapuche Indians of Argentina.”
Labwork: Genographic Project. Status: Manager, Computational Biology – Antigen Map, Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp., Seattle, WA.

Lydia Gau

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Thesis: “ADH Variation in Indigenous Altaian Populations.”
Status: Manager, PepsiCo, White Plains, NY.

Thomas Vierbuchen

B.A., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Research: Mitochondrial Disease Project, 2006-08.
Status: Assistant Professor, Developmental Biology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Kevin Keating

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2010.
Research: Conducted research for the Genographic Project, 2009-10.
Status: Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging Nurse, BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

Annick McIntosh

B.A., Department of Biology, Haverford College, 2010.
Thesis: “Prolactin Receptor Variation in Platyrrhine Primates: Implications for Understanding the Biological Basis of Paternal Care Behavior.”
Status: Owner/Tutor, Trouvaille Personalized Test Preparation Company.

Priscilla Peyrot (née des Gachons)

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2010.
Research: XXXXX Project, 2oo9-10.
Status: Writer and Associate Producer, CNN.

Lenore Pipes

B.A., Departments of Anthropology & Biology, Swarthmore College, 2008.
Biology Thesis: “Anthropology and Genetic History of Ethnic Groups in Mongolia.”
Anthropology Thesis: “TAS2R38 (PTC) Haplotypes in Altaian Populations from South-Central Siberia.”
Status: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California-Berkeley; also a road cyclist racing for UCI Women’s Pro Team Bepink.

Athma Pai

B.A., Departments of Anthropology & Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2007.
Thesis: “The Genetic History of the Saraswat Brahmins: Origins and Affinities with Indian Populations.”
Status: Assistant Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Aslihan Sen

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2006.
Thesis: “The Genetic History of the Karachay.”
Status: MD and Resident, Department of Genetics, School of Medicine, University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Nishi Mehta

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2004.
Thesis: “Mitochondrial DNA Variability in Russian Old Believer Populations,”
Status: MD and Fellow in Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical School.

Maggie Cocca

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2004.
Thesis: “Mitochondrial DNA Variability in Ethnic Russians Living in Siberia Mitochondrial DNA Variability in Ethnic Russians Living in Siberia.”
Status: Emergency Medicine Resident, New York University School of Medicine.

Paul Babb

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2003.
Research: Aleut mtDNA Diversity Project.

Marisa Fenn (née Groveman)

B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2003.
Thesis: “The Origins of the Jirels: A Synthesis of Ethnographic and Genetic Data.”