Kendra Sirak

Cohort: 2012


  • MA, Anthropology, Emory University
  • BA, Anthropology, Northwestern University


My research interests lie at the intersection of anthropology and genetics, specifically in the utilization of approaches from both disciplines in order to create a comprehensive bioethnography of a population. In my case, this population is the ancient Nubians, who inhabited the Nile corridor and transmitted genes, products, and culture between the Mediterranean, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.

With my research, I will explore patterns of human migration and genetic admixture through ancient DNA (aDNA), and examine these data within a framework of anthropology, specifically looking at population-level genomic data in relation to archaeological and osteological information. Genomic information will help to inform us about the reasons behind the considerable amount of cultural change and morphological diversity observed in the Nubians between sequential time periods of occupation.

Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate the utility of interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropology and genetics by using anthropological data to provide a context for genetic inquiry while making genomic analysis an accessible and valuable part of biological anthropology. This research will also continue to scientifically dispel the notion of “race” by illuminating the extent of migration and admixture within Africa as well as between Africa and Europe.