Paleogenetics Group ☛ Prof. Verena Schünemann

The Paleogenetics group focuses on the evolution of human health with specific interests in the evolution of pathogens and microbiomes over time.

Presentation of the Group

We recover DNA from a wide range of ancient, historic and modern samples to better understand how humans adapted to changes in environment, diet, and pathogens. State-of-the-art techniques in ancient DNA (link: clean room facilities) in combination with Next Generation Sequencing (link: Functional Genomic Centre Zürich) are used in this context. Our major goals are to obtain new insights into host-pathogen interactions in the past as well as to trace back the evolutionary history of pathogens. Using ancient pathogen genomics, we can identify causative agents of past pandemics and contribute to the reconstruction the origins and evolution of major human infectious diseases, such as leprosy or syphilis.