Alex Chen’s lessons from Ebola

Alex Chen, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, studies emerging disease preparedness, and how air and airflow is the most powerful tool against disease.

From Omnia

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In the News


Ancient megadrought may explain civilization’s ‘missing millennia’ in Southeast Asia

A team led by Joyce White of the School of Arts & Sciences studied stalagmites in a Laotian cave and identified a drought that lasted for more than a millennium, one of a series of megadroughts that affected Asia and Africa between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago.



Experts question study claiming to pinpoint birthplace of all humans

PIK Professor Sarah Tishkoff said mitochondrial DNA is a poor tool for tracking ancient population history in Africa, as it only traces genes passed from mothers to children over time.


The Atlantic

The mystery of ‘Skeleton Lake’ gets deeper

Kathleen Morrison of the School of Arts and Sciences weighed in on the origins of human remains found in India’s Skeleton Lake. “I suspect that they’re aggregated there, that local people put them in the lake,” she says. “When you see a lot of human skeletons, usually it’s a graveyard.”


PBS NewsHour

Genetic research has a white bias, and it may be hurting everyone’s health

PIK Professor Sarah Tishkoff and Giorgio Sirugo of the Perelman School of Medicine collaborated on a paper that concluded that predominately European genetic databases may lead to difficulties treating people from other racial backgrounds. “If we don’t include ethnically diverse populations, we are potentially going to be exacerbating health inequalities,” said Tishkoff.



The surprising reason why some Latin Americans have light skin

The Perelman School of Medicine’s Sarah Tishkoff offered commentary on a recent study on skin pigmentation in Latin American people. Previous research on pigmentation “has been done on Europeans, where ironically we don’t see a lot of variation,” she said. “One of the last frontiers has been, ‘What about East Asians and Native Americans?’”


National Geographic

Digging for the life stories of long-forgotten slaves

Penn researchers, including visiting student Adeyemi Oduwole, are analyzing mitochondrial DNA from bodies discovered in Charleston, S.C. All of the people found were of African ancestry, making the site the oldest known graveyard of enslaved Africans in the city. “Both of my parents grew up in Nigeria,” said Oduwole. “Those could be my ancestors down there.”