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Robbins Schug Lab: Research Interests

My research is focused on biological, developmental, cultural, and structural determinants of health in the context of past environmental and climate changes. As a bioarchaeologist, I combine paleoclimate data with evidence from archaeological human skeletal populations to assess human demographic and epidemiological patterns over the past 12,000 years. In addition to the effects of Rapid Climate Change (RCC) events in the Holocene, I have done research on health impacts of broader environmental trends—agricultural production, rapid urbanization, and environmental degradation. My work underscores the profound impacts of diverse historical and sociocultural circumstances on recent human evolution and highlights the importance of social inequality in determining the strategies employed by past people in the face of climate change, the experience of resilience, and the long-term health and demographic consequences of these choices. Here is a recent talk describing this research. 

My broader research interests include ethics of curation and use of human skeletons; human skeletal and dental anatomy, biology, and histology; paleopathology, paleoepidemiology, and forensic anthropological methods.

Describes research on Bone Biology, Histology, and Pathology in the Robbins Schug lab
Describes research on Oral Biology, Histology and Pathology in the Robbins Schug Lab
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Described Research on Enamel Isotopes, Climate History, and Human Societies in the Robbins Schug Lab
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Students can contribute to research in a variety of ways
Current and Ongoing Research Projects

  • Climate and environmental change, human Holocene population responses, health impacts, and their implications for contemporary global warming

  • Dental histology, cementum annulations, and their medico-legal applications

  • Bone histology, human and non-human microstructural variation, applications in pathology

  • Skeletal and dental pathology as an analytical tool for understanding biocultural adaptations in the past 

  • Human and Mycobacterial pathogen migrations and co-evolution in Bronze Age Asia

  • History of medicine, nutritional insufficiency, and Tuberculosis in Modern Italy

  • Migration and Adaptation to Climate Change in Bronze Age Oman

  • Ethical implications of the curation and use of human skeletons in teaching and research

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