Congratulations to the winners of the AAAG’s Outstanding Trainee Presentations in Anthropological Genetics (OTPAG) award, which gives a $200 cash prize and a one year subscription to the journal Human Biology for the best poster and podium presentation at the HBA or AAPA annual meeting. The AAAG once again thanks Human Biology’s publisher Wayne State University Press for donating journal subscriptions.
Outstanding Student Poster Presentation (tie): Elizabeth Mallot and Yen-Lung “Ota” Lin
Outstanding Student Podium Presentation: Tanvi Honap
Outstanding Postdoc Podium Presentation: Aaron Sams
Elizabeth Mallott is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her primary research interests lie in examining how resource use, including faunivory, shapes primate social behavior and foraging strategies. In particular, Elizabeth examines interactions between development and food availability in determining dietary choice, using DNA metabarcoding methods to identify animal prey present in white-faced capuchin monkey diets. She also investigates how the gut microbiome buffers dietary changes in white-faced capuchins and increases nutrient uptake from sub-optimal food resources. This research increases our understanding of the plasticity of primate behavioral responses to spatiotemporal variation in resource availability.
Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Evolutionary Biology program at the School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University. I am co-advised in my doctoral research by Dr. Anne Stone and Dr. Michael Rosenberg. My research interests include studying pathogen evolution using a phylogenomics approach as well as studying how susceptibility to pathogens is influenced by host genetics. Part of my Ph.D. research involves using ancient DNA to study the origins of tuberculosis (TB) in the pre-Columbian Americas. This project is being conducted by the Stone Laboratory in collaboration with Johannes Krause and Kirsten Bos, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany. For this project, I am screening ancient human skeletal remains, showing characteristic signs of TB, for the presence of TB bacterial DNA. I use sophisticated ancient DNA extraction methods, target enrichment, and next-generation sequencing technology to reconstruct the genomes of ancient TB strains. By understanding the evolutionary relationships among ancient and modern TB strains, we can answer questions about the origins of this important human disease. To learn more about my research, please visit my website: www.tanvihonap.com
Aaron is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology at Cornell University in the lab of Philipp Messer. In his research Aaron utilizes genomic data from living and ancient humans (including Neandertals and Denisovans) to better understand the evolution of complex genetic traits, including those related to human health, in conjunction with recent changes in human culture and demography. He also applies computational and simulation approaches to address broader concepts in paleoanthropology such as modern human origins, human dispersal, admixture, and demography