Our group utilizes the tools of molecular anthropology to explore the diverse ways in which humans interact with their environments on two very different scales: human-microbe and human-wildlife. We investigate the evolution of the mammalian microbiome, from pathogens to commensals. This work is situated in the ongoing discussions of the ethics of conducting biomolecular research. The second area of our research focuses on human-wildlife interactions and their influence on changing environments over the past several millennia with the ultimate goal of informing conservation decisions. Drawing on genomics, proteomics, stable isotopes, archaeology, ecology and evolution, my research is inherently interdisciplinary, collaborative and applied.

We believe that we should apply the information we can learn from these studies of the past to problems we are facing in the present, especially developing realistic goals for ecosystem restoration, informing wildlife conservation and understanding disease ecology. Through interdisciplinary partnerships with biologists, managers, health professionals, anthropologists, and other stakeholders, we utilize a long-term anthropological perspective for addressing ongoing ecological and health challenges to diverse audiences.


Research Interests:

Ancient DNA, microbiomes, historical ecology,coastal, archaeology, genomics, translocations, zooarchaeology, conservation genetics, high-throughput DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, human-environment interactions, archaeogenomics, domestication, and science education.

Courtney A. Hofman


Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research


Department of Anthropology

President’s Associates Presidential Professor

Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Research Affiliate


University of Maryland

PhD in Anthropology, 2015

University of Maryland

Masters in Applied Anthropology, 2011

University of Notre Dame

Biology, B.S., 2009

University of Notre Dame

Honors Anthropology, B.A. 2009