Anthropology dept hosts biomedical anthropologist Christina Warinner

Monday, April 28, 2014

Christina Warinner visits anthropology department for two days of talks

The TU Anthropology Department will host renownedbiomedical anthropologist Dr. Christina Warinner from May 1 - 2.  Uponarrival, Dr. Warinner will have a private luncheon with a group of anthropologygraduate students and professors at the TU Faculty Club.  That evening shewill give a presentation at the Lambda Alpha annual dinner.  On Friday,Dr. Warinner will present an SSIG talk entitled, "Paleomicrobiology, Historic Pandemics, AncientDiet, and our Microbial Self," in ChapmanLecture Hall from 4 - 5:30 p.m. 

Here is Dr. Warinner's summary of her Fridaypresentation: 

"Very recently, we discovered a vast new microbial self: the humanmicrobiome. Our native microbiota interface with our biology and culture toinfluence our health, behavior, and quality of life, and yet we know verylittle about the origin, evolution, or ecology of the trillions ofmicroorganisms that call us home. High-throughput sequencing has opened updramatic new opportunities in the field of paleomicrobiology, allowing us toinvestigate not only historic pandemics but also the evolution of the complexmicrobial ecologies that inhabit our bodies. This talk explores how emergingresearch on ancient dental calculus oral microbiomes is changing the way wethink about ancient disease and how archaeological studies can contribute to amedical understanding of health and nutrition today."

Dr. Christina Warinner is a Research Associate in the Department ofAnthropology at the University of Oklahoma and a Research Affiliate of theCentre for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. Herresearch focuses on the evolutionary and ecological relationships betweenhumans, their diets, and their resident microbes (microbiomes) in both modernand ancient populations. Combining fieldwork with cutting edge genomic andproteomic research, she is pioneering the study of ancient biomolecules indental calculus, a mineralized form of dental plaque that preserves for tens ofthousands of years. Christina has conducted archaeological research around theworld, from the Himalayas of Nepal to the Maya jungles of Belize to the MixtecaAlta of Mexico, where most recently she used historical sources and lightstable isotope analysis to investigate the early dietary impacts of Spanishcolonialism. Christina is a 2012 TED Fellow, and her TED talks on ancient humandiets and genetic analyses of fossilized dental plaque have been viewed morethan 500,000 times. She is an author of the book Veiled Brightness: A Historyof Ancient Maya Color, and her new edited volume, Methods and Theory inPaleoethnobotany, is press at the University Press of Colorado. She haspublished widely in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature Genetics, theAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology, the Journal of ArchaeologicalScience, Latin American Antiquity, and Current Anthropology, and her researchhas been featured in Wired UK, The Observer, CNN, NBC, Archaeology Magazine,Fox News, and Scientific American, among others.

Kim Ivey