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Health Sciences staff profiles

Meriam van Os

PositionMSc Student
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
QualificationsBSc (Forensic Science) DipGrad (Anthropology)
Research summaryUsing ancient DNA techniques to study pathogens from the past
MembershipsNew Zealand Archaeological Association


Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and treponemal diseases, have been plaguing human populations for millennia. New advanced DNA technologies and improved ancient DNA protocols make it now possible to detect and analyse pathogens from ancient human remains, providing information about the pathogen’s origin, transmission routes and evolutionary history.

However, because previous studies have mainly focused on Europe, Africa and the Americas, there is a gap in our knowledge about disease histories in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, we are developing and applying ancient DNA technologies to study disease in past Asian-Pacific populations.