Research Activities

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This page features recent publications, conference presentations, and research talks by UTM Anthropology faculty and graduate students. Learn more about our faculty research interests. Follow our department on Twitter for updates.

Dr. Laura Bolt is the lead author for a paper that was recognized as the most cited article in American Journal of Primatology for 2021-2022. The paper is titled "Maderas Rainforest Conservancy: A One Health approach to conservation" and highlights the research and conservation work of the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy non-profit organization, where Dr. Bolt also leads a primate field school. (Posted March 1, 2023)

New evidence published by MSc graduate Noor Abbas and Dr. David Samson showed that pandemic dreamers in their study had more negative and unfamiliar features in their dreams than when awake. The article entitled "Dreaming during the COVID-19 pandemic: Support for the threat simulation function of dreams" appears in Frontiers in Psychology. (Posted February 6, 2023)

Dr’s Lauren Schroeder and Bence Viola were guests on the 50th Anniversary episode of the Leakey Foundation’s Lunch Break Science, a live-streamed public-facing outreach program. This episode was about debunking common misconceptions about evolution and can be streamed on Youtube(Posted January 24, 2023)

Dr. Lauren Schroeder and Prof. Rebecca Rogers Ackermann from the University of Cape Town recently published an invited article for the 50th Anniversary special issue of the Journal of Human Evolution (JHE). The piece is entitled “Moving beyond the adaptationist paradigm for human evolution, and why it matters”. In it, they write about hominin diversity and the importance of non-adaptive evolutionary processes (genetic drift, hybridization) in shaping our evolution, a narrative that has often been overlooked. They also track demographic change in the discipline of palaeoanthropology through author metrics in JHE, highlighting the historical exclusion of certain voices in the field, and call for a concerted field-wide effort to help increase the diversity of the narrators of our human story. (Posted January 24, 2023)

Undergraduate independent research student Luca Del Giacco was awarded the Davidson Black Award for the best in-person poster presentation at the Canadian Association for Biological Anthropology 2022 annual conference. Supervised by Dr. Lauren Schroeder, the poster is entitled: Does early Homo dental variation follow a neutral pattern of divergence?. Congratulations, Luca! (Posted January 24, 2023)

Dr. Mant and her team of undergraduate research assistants from the Jackman Humanities Institute Scholars in Residence 2022 program published a piece in Teaching Anthropology (early view) about their experiences working with archival hospital records. The team continues to investigate the healthcare experiences of 18th-century children in Northampton, UK and will be presenting their work at the 2023 Society for the History of Children and Youth Conference. (Posted January 17, 2023)

Dr. Mant and colleagues published an article in the International Journal of Paleopathology about a case of rickets in a 3-year-old child from 19th-century New York state. Paleopathological cases of rickets in North America are rare and this article contributes to a deeper geographical and temporal understanding of this condition. (Posted January 17, 2023)

Dr. Mant and Lauren Poeta (Western University) co-authored a chapter in the new Routledge Handbook of Paleopathology entitled "Defining the Margins, Embodying the Consequences." This work explores the state of the field regarding the health and disease burden of marginalized individuals in the past and calls for social justice in paleopathological research. (Posted January 17, 2023)

Dr. Esteban Parra and colleagues from Mexico are co-authors of a paper published in the Journal Genome Biology. This paper provides new insights into the biological mechanisms that lead to altered lipid levels. Based on a large multi-ancestry meta-analysis including more than 1.6 million individuals, this research prioritized putative causal genes involved in lipid metabolism, explored the relationships of genetically predicted lipid levels to other diseases and conditions, identified loci showing sex-biased effects, and reported 21 novel lipid loci identified on the X-Chromosome. (Posted January 17, 2023)

Dr. Esteban Parra is one of the senior authors of a paper published in the Journal Human Genetics and Genomics Advances. This research analyzed genetic data in a large Hispanic/Latino sample and discovered new genetic loci associated with Body Mass Index (BMI), height, and BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio. (Posted January 17, 2023)

Dr. Monica Ramsey was recently selected as a recipient of the U of T Data Sciences Institute Research Software Development Support Program. This program will enable Dr. Ramsey to work with a professional software developer in order to build a customized lab database in support of her archaeological research program at UTM. (Posted December 16, 2022)

Dr. Frank Wendt and colleagues from Yale School of Medicine recently published an article in Nature Communications describing the large effects of tandem repetitive elements on complex traits. Most notably were the several tandem repeats with independent effects on each trait and those that modify the 3-dimensional structure (and likely the function) of protein products. (Posted December 16, 2022)

Volume 4 of Young Anthropology, titled Anthropology is everywhere is now published! Our peer-reviewed online undergraduate journal features research, reflections, interviews and artwork by UTM and U of T anthropology students. The journal is edited by faculty members Sarah Hillewaert and Lauren Schroeder. (Posted December 5, 2022)

MSc Candidate Ashley Moo-Choy in the Novroski lab was recently awarded the Forensic Science Foundation Lucas Grant for her thesis entitled Evaluation of transfer, persistence, and recovery of DNA on common objects through touch. Her research will evaluate the presence of DNA present on mobile phones, as well as whose DNA can be recovered from mobile phones used by a third party. (Posted November 29, 2022)

Dr. Kalyan Sekhar Chakraborty, a recent Ph.D. graduate from our department, has joined the Department of History and the Center for Interdisciplinary Archaeological Research at Ashoka University, a liberal arts college in India, as an Assistant Professor (tenure track). He has also received the very prestigious Alexander Von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship to research on Early Traditional Pastoralism and the role of secondary animal products in the development of Early Complex Societies in South Asia, at the Max Planck Institute for Geo-Anthropology, Germany. At Max Planck, he will be developing and applying geochemical techniques to archaeological remains from South Asia. (Posted November 29, 2022)

Leela McKinnon, Dr. David Samson and colleagues published an article entitled Technological infrastructure, sleep, and rest-activity patterns in a Kaqchikel Maya community in PLOS ONE. The study results suggest that industrialization does not inherently reduce characteristics of sleep quality; instead, the safety and comfort afforded by technological development may improve sleep, and an intermediate degree of environmental exposure and technological buffering may support circadian rhythm strength and stability. (Posted November 18, 2022)

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