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Research in the Reynolds Lab is centered around the study of human genomic variation to reconstruct human history and to better understand how our various histories and cultural practices contribute to health and disease risk. We use an interdisciplinary approach that combines expertise from anthropology, population genetics, and bioinformatics to answer questions of interest to us and our collaborating communities.


Since emerging in Africa some 200,000 years ago, our species has expanded to nearly every part of the globe, adapting to numerous ecosystems. People have continued moving as societies have waxed and waned throughout history. The geographic distribution of human genetic diversity is, in part, a result of this history. Using genetic data from ancient and contemporary communities we can answer questions about when people first entered a region or how agriculture spread after initial domestication events. 

Our regional areas of interest are Southern Africa and the Americas. We are particularly interested in the more recent demographic shifts in these regions as a result of factors such as the transition to agriculture, the development of large polities, and/or the impact of European colonialism.

Humans vary greatly in their risk of developing complex diseases due to differences in genetic propensities and lived experiences. Our lab takes a multidisciplinary view of complex disease to understand how population history impacts genetic diversity involved in disease risk and how differences in lived experience impact genetic regulation and expression. We are particularly interested in infectious and metabolic diseases.

We are currently involved in research on disease risk in the United States and South Africa.

Image by CDC
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