Our ability to recover ancient pathogen DNA from archaeological skeletal remains has revolutionized the study of human infectious diseases. This PhD project will focus on the recovery of ancient pathogen genomes from metagenomic datasets with a specific focus on ancient viral pathogens. More specifically, the project will involve reconstructing ancient viral genomes from a unique dataset of ancient metagenomes recovered from chewed pieces of ancient birch tar from various archaeological sites across Europe. The project will focus on the metagenomic profiling of samples, assembly and authentication of ancient viral genomes, and phylogenomic analyses aimed at reconstructing the evolutionary history of the pathogens and their characteristics.
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