Lars Fehren-Schmitz

TitleAssistant Professor
DivisionSocial Sciences Division
DepartmentAnthropology Department
AffiliationsBiomolecular Science & Engineering,
Genomics Institute
Web Site UCSC Human Paleogenomics Lab
Office301 Social Science 1
Office HoursM 12-1pm and by appointment
Campus Mail StopSocial Sciences 1 Faculty Services
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Lars Fehren-Schmitz

Research Interests

Human Palaeogenomics & Molecular Anthropology

One of the key topics of our lab is human (genetic) population history (with a focus to South America but not restricted to that). We are especially interested in the role of the interaction of culture and biology in the formation of human genetic variability.

A central problem in understanding human evolution, dispersal, diversity, and health is how biology and culture interact. To identify the modes of mutual interference between both in the formation of prehistoric cultural complexity and human diversity, our lab not only considers archaeological and environmental archives but also the immediate connection: men itself.
Employing palaeogenetic methods to analyze genome wide DNA from human remains dating to different time periods allows us to monitor the evolution of human genetic diversity, population relationships, and the genetic consequences of exposure to environmental and epidemiological stressors in "real-time"

Our current projects (amongst other) use genome-wide ancient DNA to:
- infer the human population history of pre-Columbian South America
- study the interaction of climate change, cultural change and demographic development in South America
- the demographic and epidemiological impact of European Contact on Native American Populations
- study gene-culture Co-evolution and the genetic adaptation to environmental and social stressors(e.g. High Altitude Adaptation, Nutrition, Psychological Personality Traits)
- new projects focus on Host-Pathogen Co-evolution from a diachronic perspective (e.g. Chagas Disease,Malaria)

Biography, Education and Training

MA in Biological Anthropology and in Archaeology, University of Goettingen, Germany
PhD (Dr. rer. nat) in Biology, University of Goettingen, Germany

Teaching Interests

Human Variability
Human Ecology
Anthropological Genetics