Welcome to the Kemp Lab of

Molecular Anthropology and Ancient DNA


Current Lab Members


VALDA BLACK, Anthropology PhD Student

Valda Black is a PhD candidate within the Evolutionary Anthropology track. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Anthropology at CUNY Hunter College in New York. Her Masters' thesis focused on using 3D Geometric Morphometrics to explore the heterogeneity found within intentional cranial vault modification practices and how it might relate to social identity at a Late Intermediate Period Chanka site in Peru. She plans on continuing her morphometric research by combining it with ancient DNA studies to look at lineage-based relationships found at the site. Additionally, she plans on perusing projects for the advancement of DNA usage in both a prehistoric and modern context.


RODRIGO DE LOS SANTOS, Anthropology Masters Student

Rodrigo De los Santos is a MA student in Evolutionary Anthropology. He received his former degree in archaeology at Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan in Mexico. His bachelor's degree project focused on ancient maya warfare and settlement patterns in the northern maya lowlands. His interests include human evolution and behavior, migration of human populations in the Americas, and gene selection theory. His current research seeks to integrate molecular anthropology and archaeolgy methods to explore the interactions between northern Mesoamerica and the Southwestern United States before the Spanish contact.


MITCHELL GO, Biochemistry Undergraduate Student

I am a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry in the school of Molecular Biosciences. My goal is to work in a forensics lab as a DNA analysts after college. Dr. Kemp's lab really grabbed my attention since it is a mix of anthropology and genetics. I figured it will be a great start for my research career and will be an awesome learning experience outside of the classroom.




LINDSAY HILLDORFER, School of Biological Sciences, PhD Student

Lindsay received her Bachelors in Biology at Penn State Erie. Her previous research experience includes studying changes in gene expression in S. tuberosum (potato) when treated with sprout inhibitors and analysis of purpose of an excavated cave found at the Garden and Pool Complex in Petra, Jordan. Her current interests involve the evolution of the diversity and function of gastrointestinal microbiome in dogs and humans.



BOBBI JOHNSON, School of Biological Sciences PhD Student

Bobbi Adams is a doctoral student in the Department of Biology. She received her Bachelors in Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University where she studied the application of microsatellites to study invasive grass carp. Currently, Bobbi is using genetic information obtained from both contemporary and ancient chinook salmon in the Columbia River Basin to investigate the genetic impact of European arrival and the subsequent hydroelectric development in the region. [CV]


BETHANY McAULIFFE, Undergraduate Anthropology and Wildlife Ecology Student

Bethany is a sophomore studying Anthropology and Wildlife Ecology. Currently, she assists in Dr. Kemp’s lab on various projects pertaining to ancient DNA sequencing and analysis. She hopes to attend some form of graduate school to continue her studies in Biological Anthropology. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in Cultural Resource Management and/or Natural Resource Management.


CARA MONROE, Lab Manager and Research Associate

Cara Monroe, is currently a Research Associate and the Lab Manager. As such she has her hands in most projects that occur in the Kemp Lab, including work on mtDNA diversity of Alaskan Natives, mtDNA of northern fur seals, and turkey domestication. She is a PhD student in archaeology at UC-Santa Barbara and her primary research focuses on hunter and gatherer archaeology in the Southwest United States, Central California and Baja California with an emphasis on using ancient DNA to investigate: the structure, timing, and demographics of migration events, hunter-gatherer/forager biological interaction, and relatedness of prehistoric populations at the inter and intra site level. Her dissertation research focuses on the Yukisma cemetery site (CA-SCL-38) in Santa Clara County, CA. Additional projects include: analyzing aDNA from Channel Islands burials as well as finishing a project which investigates mtDNA of Yuman speakers and their prehistoric interactions with Pueblo groups of the American Southwest. [CV]


FERNANDO A. VILLANEA, School of Biological Sciences, PhD Student

Fernando A. Villanea is a PhD candidate in the School of Biological Sciences. His research interest is in evolutionary processes, studied through modern and ancient genetics.  His work has dealt with the evolution of copy number polymorphism of the salivary amylase gene across human populations, the evolution of ASPM-a gene relevant to brain development- using the Costa Rican primate community as a model. More recently his research has focused on modeling the evolution of ABO gene polymorphism in Native Americans by modeling balancing selection at this locus, and in the evolution of an unique ABO marker dubbed “O1vG542A” which has been informative about the origin of all Native Americans, and was characterized in genetic material from ca. 2000 year old archaeological samples, as well as modern populations. His PhD thesis focuses on the demographic history of Northern Fur Seals, studied uniquely though ancient DNA and through Bayesian modeling of the neutral coalescent. [CV]


NICK WESTERGREEN, Biology and Anthropology Undergraduate

Nick is a senior biology and anthropology student. He hopes to continue onto graduate school upon graduating from WSU this spring. He would like to continue working in DNA research and someday become a professor.





DR. JODI LYNN BARTA, Post-doctoral Researcher

J. MILAGROS BASTOS MAZUELOS, Visiting Scholar from Lima

KYLE BOCINSKY, Anthropology MA Student

ELISSA BULLION, Post-Baccalaureate Student

CONNOR CORDRAY, Post-Baccalaureate Student School of Biological Sciences

CONSTANZA DE LA FUENTE , Visiting Scholar from Chile

XANTHE DIMAS , Anthropology Undergraduate Student, Minor in Biology

KELLI FLANIGAN, School of Molecular Biosciences Undergraduate Student

REBECCA HIGGINS, Anthropology Undergraduate Student

LEAH JORDAN, School of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Student

KATHLEEN JUDD, Undergraduate Student and Research Assistant

SUSAN LUKOWSKI, Anthropology MA Student

HAYLEY MANN, Visiting Masters Student from Sacramento State University

BRADLEY NEWBOLD, Anthropology PhD Student

BREANNE NOTT, School of Biological Sciences MS Student

ERIN REAMS, Anthropology Undergraduate Student

VANESSA ROSS, Anthropology Graduate Student

CASEY ROULETTE, Anthropology PhD Student

HOLLY SHAARBAF , Microbiolgy Undergraduate Student

JUSTIN TEISBERG, School of Biological Sciences PhD Student

LAURYN WATKINS, Honors College Undergraduate

FRANCESCA WHITE, Undergrad Student and McNair Scholar

BRYAN WILSON, School of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Student

MISA WINTERS, Research Associate

SCOTT WYATT, Anthropology Undergraduate Student

Meet the team!

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Department of Anthropology, PO Box 6444910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4910, 509-335-3441, Contact Us

School of Biological Sciences, PO Box 644236, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4236, 509-335-3553, Contact Us