I am interested in the histories of our ancestors, and how their stories are written into our DNA. More specifically, I use ancient DNA and population genetic methods to understand the population history of colonial period North America using a community-based epistemological framework. These methods are then interpreted alongside archaeological and other bio-molecular techniques to understand lived experience, ancestry, and relationships on the early colonial American frontier.
My two main projects focus on the population histories of the colonial Mid-Atlantic and South. As a Maryland local, I am working on understanding kinship and ancestry of 17th century Maryland and Delaware populations by analyzing the genomic diversity of archaeological individuals and living descendent communities.
My research has also taken me to Charleston, South Carolina, where I work with the Gullah Society - a non-profit organization dedicated to working with communities to raise awareness and to preserve African descendant burial grounds, identity and history. With the Gullah Society, I am conducting community-based DNA research on 36 African-descended remains.
I work collaboratively with other scientists and institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution, University of Tennessee, and Fairfield Foundation, in the telling of these stories. My research projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, amongst others.
To learn more about this research, check out the pages below: