Ancient DNA Course

Introduction to Methods and Applications in Ancient DNA

Deadline: January 15, 2024

The Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens is offering an intensive week-long course to introduce participants to methods and applications in ancient DNA (aDNA) research. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) and the Institute for Archaeological Science, Archaeo– and Paleogenetics of the University of Tübingen in Germany will lead the course: Dr Maria A. Spyrou, Postdoctoral Researcher (Univ. Tübingen, MPI-EVA), Dr. Eirini Skourtanioti, Postdoctoral Researcher (MPI-EVA) and Anthi Tiliakou, PhD candidate (MPI-EVA). In addition, the course will include lectures from invited speakers. For the 2024 program, invited speakers are: Dr. Viviane Slon (Tel Aviv University, Israel), Dr. Thomas Booth (Crick Institute, UK), Dr. Thiseas Lamnidis (MPI-EVA), and Dr. Christina Margariti and Panagiotis Christodoulou (Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Greece).

Ancient DNA has gained traction as an innovative tool in the disciplines of evolutionary biology and archaeology, as it can provide complementary, often previously unknown, insights into the human past. With a spectrum of research directions ranging from interactions between archaic human groups and the role of human mobility in cultural evolution, to the reconstruction of past disease epidemics and human biological adaptations through time, this field has been undergoing rapid methodological and conceptual advancements over the last decade.

The main objectives of this course are to offer a theoretical and basic technical training in the analysis and interpretation of aDNA data through lectures, seminars and interactive hands-on practical sessions. By the end of the course, participants will be familiar with most aspects of aDNA research and the different insights aDNA can offer into the past.

The course will explore key themes in aDNA research, such as:

  • Chemical features of aDNA
  • Sampling for aDNA
  • DNA sequencing methods
  • Inference of genetic ancestry & demography
  • Estimation and insights into biological kinship
  • Pathogen evolution and past epidemics
  • Ethical issues in aDNA research

A maximum of 16 participants will be accepted into the course. Priority will be given to graduate students, post-docs and researchers in biology, genetics, microbiology, archaeology, bioarchaeology, or related disciplines, who are not currently working with aDNA, but who wish to get exposed to state-of-the-art methods and tools in the field for future research. 

The course fee is 500 euros. Accommodation is not included, but we will offer recommendations and assistance to course participants with arranging accommodations. 

The course will take place from May 20-24, 2024, Athens, Greece

Application Details

Applications should be submitted no later than January 15th, 2024 via the online application form

Applications should include a brief cover letter outlining the candidate’s background and interest in participating in the course, a CV, and names and email addresses of two referees. Referees might be contacted for references after the application deadline, if necessary. Participants who successfully complete the course of instruction will receive a certificate detailing the content of the course.

Applicants will be notified before the end of February. 

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The American School of Classical Studies at Athens does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation when considering admission to any form of membership or application for employment.