Core Facility for Micro-Computed Tomography (Vienna Micro-CT Lab) Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Gerhard WEBER

Head

  I’m the head of the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, the Vienna µCT Lab, and the research network “HEAS”. My interest is to get as much information as possible about functional morphology from fossils and osteological material. I contributed especially to the development of Virtual Anthropology and evolutionary research regarding modern humans and Neanderthals. Recently, I’m also concerned with applications in archaeology or orthodontics.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Tom HIGHAM

Deputy Head

  I am a Professor of Scientific Archaeology in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Prior to coming to Vienna in August 2021 I was the Director of the University of Oxford’s Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. My research focuses on developing and improving the radiocarbon method and applying it to the dating of archaeological sites, especially those dating to the Palaeolithic period.

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Olivia CHERONET

I am a post-doctoral researcher in the department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna, and the lab manager of Ron Pinhasi's ancient DNA lab. Following an undergraduate training in Paleobiology and a PhD in physical anthropology, I have a particular interest in using this knowledge to improve and optimise ancient DNA sampling methods, by making them more efficient and less destructive to invaluable archaeological skeletons.

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Daniel FERNANDES

I am a postdoctoral researcher in Ron Pinhasis's group, in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology of the University of Vienna. My expertise is the paleogenomic analysis of ancient human populations, specifically targeting ancestry determination, phenotypic assessment, admixture simulations, and societal organisation using kinship. Complementary interests and work areas involve the development and use of bioinformatic tools and pipelines for various genomic analysis, specifically for kinship estimation, as well as the development of ancient DNA laboratory methodologies and protocols for improved bone sampling and endogenous DNA separation.

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Bernhard FINK

Bernhard Fink received his PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of Vienna (Austria). He then moved to the University of Göttingen (Germany) where he held prestigious grants from the German Science Foundation (DFG) to investigate the social perception of human facial/body morphology and body movements, such as dance and gait. His work comprises the study of cross-cultural similarities and differences in human social perception, including research in pre-industrialized (small-scale) societies. Bernhard has worked extensively on digit ratio (2D:4D), a supposed proxy for prenatal androgenization. Together with John Manning (Swansea University), he examines 2D:4D relationships with sex-dependent traits across nations in a large sample from the BBC internet study.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Ron PINHASI

Deputy Head

Dr. Ron Pinhasi  is the Head of the Ancient DNA Lab. His research focuses on human evolution including fieldwork projects on the Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition in the Caucasus. He held an ERC Starting Grant project (2011-2015) that focused on human genetic history, migrations and admixture, and developed the widely-used ancient DNA optimisation method from the petrous bone.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Cinzia FORNAI

I am an evolutionary anthropologist and morphometrician by training, with consolidated experience in Dental Anthropology. Over the course of my PhD program in Biology through the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Vienna (concluded in 2015), I have specialized in the use of virtual image techniques and geometric morphometrics for the exploration of hominin dental variation (http://othes.univie.ac.at/38865/1/2015-07-11_0963308.pdf). My postdoctoral research through the within the Evolutionary Morphology group of the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, focused on the evolutionary aspects of human birth and the investigation of the pelvis in hominoids. Currently affiliated with the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, I continue research in Dental Anthropology, while being the scientific coordinator of the Vienna School of Interdisciplinary Dentistry www.viesid.com, where I focus on topics relevant to oral medicine such as functional morphology of the stomatognathic system and its clinical implications.

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Pere GELABERT

I am a postdoctoral researcher in Ron Pinhasis's group working with genetic data from different sources. I am primarily interested in analyzing genomic data from past environments or populations that can be co-analyzed together with other disciplines to answer questions linked to cultural evolution and health status assessment of ancient populations. I am currently working on projects related to past microbiomes and populations as well on the analysis of ancient environmental genomic data of human-related environments.

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Meriam GUELLIL

I am an expert in ancient microbial phylogenomics and metagenomics, particularly of human pathogens. I am particularly interested in the study of diseases that are invisible in the archaeological and osteological record, and the study of their evolution throughout human history. My previous research includes studies on microbial species such as Yersinia pestis, Haemophilus influenzae, Borrelia recurrentis and Herpes simplex 1. The focus of my laboratory work is the design of target enrichment strategies and kits, as well as their applications. Computationally, I have developed workflows for pathogen detection in ancient DNA datasets and work on developing analytical frameworks to reconstruct ancient genomes and maximize the information they can give us when studied within modern diversity. I was awarded a BA in Prehistoric Archaeology from the University of Vienna, an MSc in Human Osteology from the University of Sheffield and a PhD in Genomics from the University of Oslo. I joined the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna in September 2022 as an ESPRIT FWF project leader and senior postdoctoral researcher.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Dominik HAGMANN

Dominik Hagmann is currently working on several projects primarily focusing on Roman archaeology in Austria and is a lecturer at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (University of Vienna). In 2022, he obtained a Ph.D. degree (with honors) from the University of Vienna (Doctoral School for Cultural and Historical Studies) on his thesis “Roman Rural Landscapes in Noricum. Archaeological Studies on Roman Settlements in the Hinterland of Northern Noricum.” As an archaeologist, Dominik focuses on provincial Roman studies in terms of settlement and landscape archaeology in Austria. He implements state-of-the-art digital and interdisciplinary methods into his research. He participated (partly a field director) in numerous field campaigns in Central and Southern Europe and the Middle East in the course of several third-party-funded international and national research projects.  

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Xin HUANG

I am an evolutionary biologist and has been working on method development for solving different problems with population genomic data, including detecting positive selection, estimating strength of natural selection, quantifying time-varying selective pressures, inferring the distribution of fitness effects, and detecting archaic admixture. I will continue to investigate many other interesting topics in the future.

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Lumila Paula MENÉNDEZ

I am a biological anthropologist specialized in human evolution and biocultural diversity in the Americas. I was born in Argentina, where I also conducted my studies and most of my training. Currently, I am leading two projects, one funded by the German Foundation for Scientific Research (DFG), aims to study cranial variation in individuals from South America, for evaluating the role of evolutionary and ecological factors during the human diversification across the whole Holocene; and the other, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), points to validate virtual anthropology protocols for contributing in the forensic human identification in Mexico. To tackle these issues, I apply imagining techniques, geometric morphometrics methods, as well as multivariate statistics, and I work interdisciplinary collaborating with archaeologists, geneticists, forensic experts, biologists, linguists, and philosophers of science.

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Annette OERTLE

I am a postdoctoral fellow with the Douka Palaeoproteomics and ZooMS laboratory in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna. As an archaeological scientist (zooarchaeologist) I specialise in collagen peptide fingerprinting (ZooMS) and archaeomalacology. My research interests lie in tropical, coastal and island archaeology with particular focus on Australia, the Pacific Islands and Island South East Asia (ISEA). I am interested in questions regarding human evolution, changes in subsistence behaviours, and site formation processes. I completed my PhD in 2019 from the University of Sydney, Australia. Marie-Skłodowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellow (2022-2024) Principle Investigator: Leakey Foundation Grant (2022-2023)

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José-Miguel TEJERO

José-Miguel Tejero is an archaeologist specialising in Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer societies and their osseous raw material exploitation. His current research, funded by the FWF, focuses on bone and antler hunting weapons and their significance in adaptative environmental strategies of the first anatomically modern humans colonising Eurasia by combining archaeological, palaeogenetic, palaeoproteomics, and radiodating methods. His work also involves the bone equipment of the Western-European societies at the late Upper Palaeolithic (Magdalenian) and the last Levantine hunter-gatherer groups, beginning to practice the sedentarism (Natufian). He is the research leader of the interdisciplinary and international team for the study and publication of one of the most critical Near East Natufian sites: Einan–Ain-Mallaha (Jordan Valley, Israel), funded by the Shelby White and Leon Levy Foundation.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Laura VAN DER SLUIS

I am a senior scientist in the team and laboratory of Tom Higham and Katerina Douka in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna. My background is in archaeology, radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analysis on human and faunal remains for palaeodietary purposes. Previous projects I have worked on involved extinct giant tortoise bones from Mauritius, prehistoric human and faunal material from the Limfjord in Denmark, and Palaeolithic whale bone objects from France and Spain. I am interested in human-environmental interactions in the past, human evolution, and the effect of diagenetic alterations on isotopic signatures in bone and teeth.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Emese VÉGH

Emese Végh is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Palaeoproteomics and ZooMS on Katerina Douka’s ERC FINDER project at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Vienna, currently working on recovering, analysing, and identifying hominin remains from Pleistocene Eurasia. She is also an Early Career Researcher at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA), University of Oxford. She completed her DPhil (PhD) in scientific archaeology at the University of Oxford, which focused on the diagenesis and thermal stability of bioapatite, bone microbial bioerosion, molecular structure and composition, and biomechanical response of taphonomic bone. She is currently very interested in the environmental factors and age-induced degradation of both the organic and inorganic phases of bone and the interaction between the two fractions, especially in an evolutionary anthropological context. She particularly enjoys data analyses, multivariate statistics, and programming in Python to find new ways of solving archaeological research questions.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Sonja WINDHAGER

Sonja Windhager is a trained biologist and lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Her research focus is on geometric morphometric approaches to human facial shape and interpersonal perception. This includes an interest in modern imaging techniques to study human facial form in two and three dimensions. The emphasis is on the use of calibrated morphs in intra- and cross-cultural research. Furthermore, she investigates human social behavior in the context of biophilia and the urban environment.

Research Areas:
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Jeannette BECKER

I am a PhD student at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology and especially interested in respiratory diseases in past populations, palaeopathology, evolutionary medicine and diseases in regard of the human life history. I received a BSc in Biology in 2017, followed by a MSc in 2021 from the University of Vienna. I completed my master’s degree in Anthropology where I investigated paranasal sinusitis and their relation to skeletal stress markers in human remains. In addition, I am currently studying medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, which I will complete in 2022.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

KS Duffett CARLSON

I am a PhD candidate in Biology (Evolutionary Anthropology). My background is in archaeology and biological anthropology. I am interested in non-destructive scanning methods to study palaeodiet, functional morphology, and taphonomy in ancient samples. I also have extensive experience excavating Palaeolithic sites.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Tobias GÖLLNER

Tobias Göllner investigates the peopling of Asia via genetic ancestry, population structure, demography and selection. Currently he works together with the Maniq, a primary hunter-gatherer community of Southeast Asia to uncover their genetic history, admixture, and archaic introgression. Further topics of investigation will be selection and adaptation to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the rainforest. (PhD Supervisors: Martin Fieder and Helmut Schaschl)

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Victoria OBERREITER

I have completed my master’s program in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna and I am currently a PhD student in Ron Pinhasi’s group. My research is part of the research platform MINERVA (Mineralogical Preservation of the Human Biome) which studies the interactions of ancient DNA (aDNA) with and protection by diverse mineral phases. I am currently specializing in extracting aDNA from archeological sediments with a specific focus on paleolithic cave sites. The obtained metagenomic data allow me to study human population history and occupations even at sites lacking human remains.  

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Muhammad Bilal SHARIF

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Vienna. My research interest includes genomic analysis of historical and ancient populations to understand their evolutionary and demographic history. Over the course of my Master's thesis at CIRAD Montpellier France, I specialized in analyzing genomic data using bioinformatical tools especially in estimating ploidy levels, signatures of selection, kinship, and demographic history using coalescent simulations. In my current project, I am working on Roman and Celtic Equids populations using a multidisciplinary approach that involves paleogenomics, standard morphology and geometric morphometrics.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Petra ŠIMKOVÁ

I am a PhD student at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna. After finishing my bachelor's studies focused on skeletal morphology and paleopathology at Comenius University in Bratislava, I obtained my Master's degree at the University of Vienna, with the main focus on dental anthropology in combination with 3D imaging and geometric morphometrics. In my PhD research, I continue focusing on dental anthropology and morphology of hominids, working by means of virtual anthropology and geometric morphometrics.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Members

Magdalena T. SRIENC-ŚCIESIEK

I am a PhD candidate and the Anthropology Lab Manager at the Austrian Archaeological Institute- Austrian Academy of Sciences. My doctoral research focuses on the early medieval Eastern Alpine region and will look at how the transitional period influenced health and diet as well as mobility in southern Austria and northern Slovenia. I am interested in palaeopathology and recreating the life history of individuals and communities.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science (VIAS) Members

Brina ZAGORC

I am an archaeologist and currently a PhD student in Ron Pinhasi's Lab group. My research areas include studying relationships between and within past societies, and I am especially interested in the field of bioarchaeology of children. The main focus of my PhD project is to observe sex-specific variations in subadult health status during Antiquity and Early Medieval times. My work includes aDNA analysis and other bioarchaeological methods where I compare the occurrence of physiological stress indicators, and other paleopathological indicators of bad health, in relation to the biological sex of the studied individuals. This will help me address questions on upbringing, weaning patterns, and overall health of the subadult population in the past.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Katerina DOUKA

I am an archaeological scientist interested in the development and application of analytical tools, in particularly chronometric and biomolecular methodologies, to archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations. I specialise in radiocarbon dating, and have extensive experience in sample collection, development of new protocols for decontaminating archaeological material, and the statistical interpretation of AMS results using Bayesian modelling. I am also interested in the application of biomolecular tools, such as collagen peptide fingerprinting (also known as ZooMS), to better understand the archaeological record.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Martin FIEDER

Main research areas: evolutionary demography and behavior genetics. Martin Fieder investigates how our evolutionary heritage influences modern-day demographics, focusing on mating, social status and reproduction, as well as on the demographic causes of contemporary migration flows. In the field of behavioral genetics, he works on genetic predisposition and evolution of in-group vs. out-group attitudes, social status as well as homogamy, with a special attention on the evolution of religions. He mainly uses public demographic data, twin data, Genome Wide Association Studies and the Poly Genic Risk Score.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Martin KUHLWILM

Martin Kuhlwilm is a biologist and obtained a PhD working on population genomics of Neandertals at the MPI-EVA in Leipzig. As a postdoctoral researcher in Barcelona, he studied admixture in great apes. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the University of Vienna, with funding from the WWTF. His research involves computational approaches to study population history, particularly admixture between populations.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Sylvia KIRCHENGAST

The main research focus is the evolution of human life history patterns, comprising studies concerning growth patterns in recent as well as historical populations, in particular the impact of endogenous und exogenous stress factors on body height and directional asymmetry patterns. On the other hand, female reproductive biology, in particular pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are focused on.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Mareike STAHLSCHMIDT

I am a geoarchaeologist and apply microscopic techniques to the sedimentary archaeological record. I view and analyze sediments, deposits and features as archives of paleoenvironments as well as of human behavior. I am particularly interested in how archaeological sites form and preserve over time, in the evolution of human use of fire and in archaeological sediments and speleothems as paleogenetic archives.  

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Elmira MOHANDESAN

I am a principal investigator at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (University of Vienna). My research interests mainly cover the topics related to population and conservation genomics, phylogenetics and animal domestication. Particularly, in my research group, we generate and analyze non-human paleogenomic data to address various evolutionary, and socio-cultural questions, many of which cannot be well-addressed by ancient DNA studies of humans alone. I have been working on ancient specimens from various species, such as human, cave bear, chimpanzee, iconic New Zealand Tuatara, Arabian camels and horses. In my current project, we are researching on the Palaeogenomics of Roman Equids, using a multidisciplinary approach.

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Katrin SCHÄFER

We are specifically interested in the biological causes of facial shape variation and in the resulting social perception (both in children and adults). We study biological processes such as allometric, androgenic (current, and prenatal via 2D:4D) on (facial) morphology, and integrate concepts from evolutionary psychology and aesthetics to test evolutionary hypothesis in relation to mating system, fluctuating asymmetry, perceived attractiveness, sex stereotypes, overgeneralization, etc.  

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology (DEA) Team Leaders

Harald WILFING

A theoretical basis is of high importance in the fields of co-evolutionary theory and transition studies: Prof. Wilfing has gathered profound experience in epistemology, of which is mainly focused on theoretical biology. The main focus of the Work Group Human Ecology is currently on the topic: perspectives of sustainable development in industrialised societies and developing countries with special consideration of network research and the value action gap.

Research Areas:
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