Invited speakers

Professor Charlotte Roberts, Durham University, England

Topic: The evolution of paleopathology: the importance of focusing on the "here and now" of health and well-   being

I am a bioarchaeologist and have studied and interpreted human remains from archaeological sites for the past 35   years. I also have a first career in nursing, and was elected as a Fellow to the British Academy in 2014. I am   specifically interested in exploring the interaction of people with their environments in the past through  paleopathology, and especially those health problems that are common today. My key research interests lie in: contextual approaches to past human health; contemporary health; evolutionary approaches to the origin and   history of infectious diseases; big data projects in paleopathology; and ethics related to human remains. I am also very passionate about engaging audiences with my research beyond academia. I try to utilize multiple lines of evidence for reconstructing past health, including exploring the application of medical anthropological and evolutionary biological approaches to bioarchaeology. My nursing background, particularly, has guided me into taking an holistic approach to past ill health in bioarchaeology, something that was also considered essential in a hospital environment. Understanding why and how people and communities today experience health problems is essential to be able to understand ill health in the past. My key book publications include: The backbone of Europe (with R. Steckel, C. Larsen and J. Baten), Human remains in archaeology (2nd ed. 2018), The global history of paleopathology (2012, with J. Buikstra), The archaeology of disease (3rd ed. 2005, with K. Manchester), Health and disease in Britain (2003, with M. Cox),The bioarchaeology of tuberculosis (with J. Buikstra), and The past and present of leprosy (2002, with M. Lewis and K. Manchester), and I have published many journal papers and book chapters.

Professor Eugenia Cunha, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Topic: Paleopathology and its role in the identification process

Professor Cunha is a leading authority in the field of forensic anthropology. Since 2018, she is the director of the South Delegation of the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (NILMFS), Lisbon, Portugal, and member of the direction of the Institute. Full professor at the University of Coimbra since 2003, she created and coordinates the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and is a researcher at the Centre for Functional Ecology. Cunha serves as a national consultant in Forensic Anthropology for the NILMFS in Portugal since 1997 and as a forensic anthropologist of the South Delegation of the NILMFS since 2004. In addition, she is a C-FASE- Honoris Causa certified practitioner in Forensic Anthropology by the FASE/IALM, International Academy of Legal Medicine, since 2014. She was also invited lecturer at the Université Paul Sabatier III, AMES, France (2016), at the Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil (2017), and at Stanford University (2020, Tinker visiting professor). A teacher of the postgraduate course on Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights, UNIFESP, São Paulo, Brazil, since 2017 and of the Master and PhD courses in Physical and Forensic Anthropology of the University of Granada, Spain, she was also co-founder and President of the FASE-Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe (2009-2015), Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and Founder member and vice-president of the ABRAF-Brazilian Association of Forensic Anthropology since 2014.

Professor Hendrik Poinar, McMaster University, Canada

Topic: Time-traveling with ancient DNA

Hendrik Poinar is an evolutionary geneticist who develops and employs novel enrichment and sequencing strategies to access ancient genomes from fossil remains, in order to reconstruct their evolutionary history. He completed his PhD at the University of Munich, was an EMBO fellow at Cancer Research UK, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon and a Junior Group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, before becoming a Canada Research Chair in Paleogenetics at McMaster University in 2003.The son of noted entomologist George Poinar, Jr and Eva Hecht-Poinar, Poinar received his BS and MS degrees from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo in 1992 and 1999 respectively before earning a PhD in 1999 from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, after which he was a postdoctoral researcher from 2000 to 2003 at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. As an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair at McMaster University, he uses both chemical and molecular techniques to elucidate the state of preservation within forensic, archeological and paleontological remains. This information is subsequently used to devise novel techniques to extract the molecular information (DNA and/or protein sequences) which is then used to address evolutionary and anthropological questions, such as the “relatedness” of Archaic humans and Neanderthals from a genetic standpoint, sex and diet from prehistoric Native Amerindian hunter-gatherer populations using coprolites samples, and the timing and origin of HIV using archival blood and brain tissue samples.

Hosted by

Institute of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Vilnius University

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