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Ancient DNA research: From Remains to Revelations

When:Fr 08-03-2024 10:00 - 12:30
Where:House of Connections, Grote Markt 21, Groningen. (doors open at 9.30)

In this workshop we delve into the realm of ancient DNA research. Three distinguished speakers will share their expertise, offering valuable insights into this rapidly evolving field.

Ancient DNA research involves genetic material extracted from ancient specimens, such as archaeological or museum collections, and can shed light on past environmental adaptation, the history of diseases, and patterns of mobility throughout time. Discover how ancient DNA research contributes to investigations in heritage, migrations, disease dynamics, biodiversity, evolution, and conservation efforts. By learning from the past, we can make more informed estimations about the future challenges we may face.

Join us for an informative session where we uncover the possibilities and practicalities of ancient DNA research and contemplate its potential and implications for our understanding of the past and projections for the future.


Speaker 1: Dr. Füsun Özer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey.

She earned her doctoral degree in Biology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2010. Following her studies, she was a lecturer at METU-Northern Cyprus Campus before joining the Department of Biology at METU, Ankara, as a research scientist in 2011. Dr. Özer played a pivotal role in establishing Turkey's first dedicated ancient DNA laboratory.

In May 2019, she moved to Hacettepe University, where she continues her academic pursuits as an Assistant Professor, establishing the Hacettepe University Molecular Anthropology and Genomics Laboratory for ancient DNA research. Dr. Özer's research interests encompass archaeogenomics of human populations, ancient DNA analyses of animal domestication, and conservation genetics of declining animal populations.

Speaker 2: Niek Scheepens leads the Plant Evolutionary Ecology lab at Goethe University Frankfurt.

With a M.Sc. from the University of Groningen in 2007 and a Ph.D. from the University of Basel in 2011, his research focuses on plant adaptation to the environment across various time scales.

Niek's work aims to understand the dynamics of phenotypic trait variation, integrating concepts and methods from classical plant ecology, evolutionary biology, quantitative genetics and population genetics and genomics. Currently, he investigates rapid adaptation to climate change and land use in various herb species and ecosystems, employing common garden experiments, the resurrection approach and experimental evolution.

Speaker 3:  Bastiaan Star is an evolutionary biologist and Professor at the University of Oslo, Norway and with an interest in historical marine ecology and conservation genomics.

With a Ph.D. in population genetic theory from the University of Otago, New Zealand, he explores how human activities and environmental changes have shaped genetic diversity over time. He collaborates closely with archaeologists, historians, and ecologists, analysing both modern and ancient specimens to improve our understanding of the long-term interactions between humans and the environment.

Currently, Bastiaan focuses on understanding how structural genomic variations influence population divergence and adaptation, employing whole-genome sequencing techniques, including ancient DNA methodology. His research provides novel insights into the complex interplay between human impacts, climate change, and biodiversity conservation.

This morning workshop offers a unique opportunity to find out about cutting edge research which bridges the humanities and life sciences. Don't miss this chance to deepen your understanding and contribute to groundbreaking research initiatives.

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