Deborah Bolnick

Associate Professor Ph.D University of California, Davis, 2005

Deborah Bolnick is an anthropological geneticist and critical biocultural anthropologist who explores how sociopolitical forces, historical events, and social inequalities shape human genomic diversity, as well as human biology more broadly. In her research, she analyzes DNA from ancient and contemporary peoples, in conjunction with other lines of evidence, to help reconstruct population histories in the Americas. She is especially interested in understanding the genetic and epigenetic impacts of settler colonialism, and works closely with Indigenous partners, archaeologists, and other scholars in this work. Deborah is also interested in the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomic research, and she studies the methods and applications of genetic ancestry testing, investigating how ancestry tests influence and are influenced by contemporary understandings of race, ethnicity, gender, and identity. Through her work, Deborah strives to help integrate more critical, intersectional, historically marginalized, and decolonial perspectives into science.

She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California at Davis, and is a past president of the American Association of Anthropological Genetics. She is also the co-author (with John Relethford) of Reflections of Our Past: How Human History is Revealed in Our Genes (2018).


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