In this interdisciplinary project, the successful candidates will investigate the physico-chemical mechanisms by which minerals capture and preserve aDNA. They will develop methods by which aDNA can be retrieved from such mineral assemblages, and they will use these methods to analyse aDNA from mineral assemblages recovered from archaeological sites to study human evolution and the co-evolution of the human biome. The successful candidate (advised by Prof. Kraemer, co-advised by Prof. Pinhasi) will synthesize a range of relevant mineral phases, use her*his expertise in mineral surface chemistry to study adsorption/co-precipitation of DNA with these mineral phases and elucidate the underlying reaction mechanisms. The student will investigate how well aDNA is protected from degradation in these assemblages. Methods will be developed to retrieve the aDNA by desoprtion or mineral dissolution reactions without compromising the fidelity of the aDNA. The student should have a strong background in geochemistry with interest in mineral formation, mineral surface reactions including sorption or co-precipitation. Participation in teaching as defined by the collective agreement is expected. The successful candidate is expected to sign a doctoral thesis agreement within 12-18 months.
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