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Theodore G. Schurr, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Academic Positions

  • Graduate Group Chair, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; 2017-present
  • Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; 2013-present
  • Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; 2007-13
  • Research Associate, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania; 2006-present
  • Director, North American Regional Center, The Genographic Project; 2005-20
  • Consulting Curator, American Section, Penn Museum; 2002-present
  • Repatriation Committee Member, American Section, Penn Museum; 2002-present
  • Director, Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; 2002-present
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania; 2000-07

Education and Training

  • Post-Doctoral Scientist, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, Department of Genetics, San Antonio, TX; Jan 1999-June 2001.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Molecular Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Aug-Dec 1998.
  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Emory University; August 1998, “Dissertation: “Population Genetic Analysis of Indigenous Peoples of Northeast Siberia: Prehistoric and Historic Influences on Genetic Diversity.” Advisors: Drs. George Armelagos and Douglas C. Wallace
  • M.A., Anthropology, Emory University; June 1986
  • Research Specialist, Human Mitochondrial Genetics, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; 1986-91
  • Research Specialist, Plant Molecular Genetics, Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; 1983-86
  • B.S., Zoology, Magna Cum Laude, with Honors, University of Georgia; June 1983

Awards/Fellowships/Grants (Selected)

  • National Science Foundation BCS-2029098. “DDRIG: Investigating Variability in the Frequency of Fire Use in the Archaeological Record of Late Pleistocene Europe.” Principal Investigator (Abdolahzadeh) [12/11/20 – 12/10/21]
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health #287961, “The Redox State within the Intrauterine Millieu and Telomore Length in the Newborn – The ‘Telox’ Study.” Co-Principal Investigator [11/01/20 –10/31/23]; PI: Astanand Jugessur, University of Bergen, Norway
  • National Science Foundation BCS-1824826, “Genetic History of Western Georgia and Its Role in the Settlement of Eurasia.” Principal Investigator [04/01/19 – 03/31/22]
  • National Science Foundation DDRIG BCS-1825583, “Analysis of Genetic Ancestry in a 17th Century Archeological Population from the Chesapeake Bay Region.” Principal Investigator (Fleskes) [09/01/18 – 06/22/21]
  • National Science Foundation BCS-1751863, “The Role of Mitochondrial DNA Background in HPV Infection Risk.” Principal Investigator (Friedrich) [01/01/18 –12/31/21]
  • National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration Grant, “Reconstructing the Genetic History of Adjara and Guria, Western Georgia.” Principal Investigator [01/15/17 – 12/11/21]
  • La Academia de Historia Dominicana Grant, “The Dominican Genome: In Search of Taíno Roots”, Principal Investigator [08/01/15 – 07/31/16]
  • National Geographic Society, Geno 2.0 Grant, “Genetic Diversity in Circum-Caribbean Populations and Its Implications for the Peopling of the Caribbean Basin.” Principal Investigator [09/01/13 – 03/31/17]
  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) R01, “Mitochondrial-Nuclear Interactions and CVD Susceptibility.” Co-Investigator [04/01/12 – 04/30/15]. PI: Scott W. Ballinger, Department of Pathology, University of Alabama-Birmingham.
  • National Geographic Society, “The Genographic Project: Genetic Analysis of Native American Populations of North America: Phase 2” Principal Investigator [01/01/12 – 12/31/12]
  • National Science Foundation BCS-1249281 (EAGER), “Genetic Variation and Population History in Svanetia, Northwest Georgia.” Principal Investigator [08/01/12 – 11/30/13]
  • National Science Foundation, DDRIG BCS-1061349, “Implications of genetic data knowledge on identity in a Native American descent community.” Principal Investigator (Gaieski) [02/25/11 – 07/31/12]
  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) R01 HL094518-01A1, “Mitochondrial associated CVD susceptibility in humans and mice.” Co-Investigator [08/30/09 – 08/29/11]; PI: Scott W. Ballinger, Department of Pathology, University ofAlabama-Birmingham.
  • National Institutes of Health, R03 DK 082521-02, “Transcriptional profiling of metabolic pathways in mitochondrial disease.” Co-Investigator [08/01/08 – 07/31/11]. PI: Scott W. Ballinger, Department of Pathology, University of Alabama-Birmingham.
  • National Science Foundation, DDRIG BCS-0726623, “Analysis of Y-chromosome Variation in Indigenous Altaian and Altaian Kazakh Populations.” Principal Investigator (Dulik) [09/15/07 – 09/14/08]
  • National Science Foundation, DDRIG BCS-0622589, “An Ethnographic and Genetic Survey of Villages in Central Anatolia.” Principal Investigator (Gokcumen) [08/01/06 – 07/31/08]
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Major Collaborative Research Initiative 412-2005-1004, “Middle Holocene Hunter-Gatherers of Cis-Baikal, Siberia.” Co-Investigator [02/01/06 – 12/31/11]; PI: Andrzej W. Weber, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta.
  • National Geographic Society, “The Genographic Project: Genetic Analysis of Native American Populations of North America: Phase 1,” Principal Investigator [05/01/05 – 12/31/12]

Research Interests

  • Subject Areas: Human evolutionary genetics, mitochondrial biology and disease, biomedical genetics, ancient DNA, primate genetics
  • Geographic Areas: Africa, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Caucasus (Georgia), Kazakhstan, Melanesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Oceania, Russia (Siberia), South Asia, Southeast Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States

Interests outside the lab

Photography, yoga, birdwatching, cooking

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