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.