Welcome to the Laboratory 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.


NICHOLE FOURNIER, Anthropology PhD Student

Nichole Fournier is a PhD student in Evolutionary Anthropology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Anthropology from Boston University. She completed a Master’s degree in Anthropology at North Carolina State University, where she focused on Forensic Anthropology. While at NCSU, she was manager of the Forensic Analysis Laboratory and completed a thesis measuring dermatoglyphic variation between sexes and ancestry groups and proposing how this information can be useful in a forensic context. She wants to continue conducting research that draws on multiple disciplines and therefore plans to use her background in human osteology in conjunction with ancient DNA in order to answer questions regarding human variation and population history. For her dissertation research, she plans to study a prehistoric human population living in the San Francisco Bay Area during a period of resource stress caused by a major drought. Using osteological and ancient DNA evidence, she will explore whether certain groups, such as sexes or lineages, were more influenced by this resource stress and use this information to reconstruct population history.


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]


KATARINA KASPARI, Anthropology Masters Student

Katarina Kaspari is an MA student studying Evolutionary Anthropology. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago, where she worked in a molecular genetics lab studying disproportionate growth in fruit flies. Following that, Katarina worked in an artifact conservation lab at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and contributed to exhibits on biomechanics and mummies. Katarina is now working on a project to determine if ancient DNA from mammalian remains can be reliably identified using DNA barcoding.


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.


ERICA PALMER, Undergraduate Biology Major and Anthropology Minor Student

Erica Palmer is currently a junior at WSU. She is majoring in Biology and minoring in Anthropology. She has been working on species identification of fish vertebrae found at an archaeology site from Northern California. She is interested in continuing to work in ancient DNA and apply it to forensic anthropology cases in the future. She is interested in attending graduate school in Tennessee or Boston for forensic anthropology.



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]



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

NICK WESTERGREEN, Biology and Anthropology 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