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 in research and teaching; human skeletal and dental anatomy, biology, and histology; paleopathology and paleoepidemiology, and forensic anthropological methods.
Students can contribute to research in a variety of ways
First cohort of students in the lab (Spring 2023)
I started at UNCG Biology in fall 2023. This is a picture of the very first cohort of students in the lab. They started it all!
Top Row Left to Right : Annisianna, Tyra, Noemi, Cameron, Gwen, Charlotte, Desani, and Maisha
Front Row Left to Right: Eileen, Lelise, Ruby, Irena, Tiara, and Laura (not shown: Jasmine Sprigle)
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
New in 2024! UNCG Biology has partnered with the Department of Biology and the Anthropology Museum at the University of Padua to offer a field school in the History of Medicine, Ethics, and Paleopathology. Join us for an immersive experience in the fascinating world of biology and anthropology. Explore the rich history of medicine, delve into ethical considerations, and study ancient diseases through paleopathology. Expand your knowledge and gain valuable insights in this unique program while earning 6 credits of 400-level Biology and doing research.