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Our Research Theme investigates fundamental questions of our human past that have pressing implications for human society today in Aotearoa, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.

Leadership in biocultural health

The University of Otago has international leaders in:

  • Archaeology
  • Biological anthropology
  • Biomedical genetics
  • Child and public health
  • Dental epidemiology
  • History
  • Medical (social) anthropology
  • Sociology

Our work is instrumental in current knowledge of prehistoric life in our region, and it is changing our conception of the development of social inequality, and adaptation, in prehistoric times.

We aim to:

  • Increase the Theme's research capacity through interdisciplinary and collaborative contributions to our research fields
  • Attract, support, and retain indigenous students
  • Strengthen our local, national, and international profile of our research leadership

Steering committee

Professor Siân Halcrow

Sian HalcrowDepartment of Anatomy

Co-director, and research interests in infant and child health and disease in prehistoric Southeast Asia.

Professor Hallie Buckley

Hallie BuckleyDepartment of Anatomy

Co-director, and research interests in palaeopathology in New Zealand, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.

Professor Tony Merriman

Tony MerrimanDepartment of Biochemistry

Research interests in genetic and environmental causes of gout in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Mr Tuari Potiki

Tuari Potiki Office of Māori Development

Cultural advisor.

Faumuina Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga

Tai Sopoaga Associate Dean Pacific, Division of Health Sciences

Cultural advisor.

More about our people

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