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  • 2017 Outstanding Trainee Presentations in Anthropological Genetics Awards Announced

The Outstanding Trainee Presentations in Anthropological Genetics Awards are given for the best poster and podium presentations at the Human Biology Association or American Association of Physical Anthropologists annual meeting. In 2017, awards were given for best student poster and student podium presentations at the 86th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 19–23, 2017. The winners received a $200 cash prize and a one-year subscription to Human Biology.

Rita Austin was awarded the Outstanding Student Poster Presentation in Anthropological Genetics Award for her presentation titled "A comparative analysis of wild non-human primate gut microbiomes." Wild nonhuman primates (NHPs) display a broad range of microbial profiles that influence and can be influenced by diet, health, genetics, and the environment. This work presented two novel New World NHP 16S RNA microbiome data sets. By comparing these newly acquired data to microbiome data from previously published Old World NHP data sets, Ms. Austin is helping establish a baseline for understanding primate microbiota diversity across the globe.

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Human Biology is the official publication of the American Association of Anthropological Genetics (AAAG), an educational and scientific organization founded in 1994. AAAG aims to promote the study of anthropological genetics, as this field is broadly defined, and to facilitate communication and cooperation between individuals engaged in this field of research. To learn more about the AAAG or to become a member, please visit our website at

Ms. Austin graduated from Fort Lewis College in 2014 with a BA in anthropology and minors in forensic studies and rhetoric. Currently, she is a PhD student in anthropology and a research assistant at the University of Oklahoma–Norman, focusing on ancient DNA, human health, the oral microbiome, and museum collections. Her dissertation will focus on ancient dental calculus (i.e., tartar), public database development, sample preservation using 3D technology, and utilizing [End Page 171] museum collections for ancient DNA research. As a member of AAAG, Ms. Austin appreciates the diversity of topics considered and how welcoming the community has been.

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Amy Goldberg was awarded the Outstanding Student Podium Presentation in Anthropological Genetics Award for her presentation titled "Neolithic familial migration contrasts Bronze Age male migration inferred from ancient X chromosomes." She presented a mathematical model to infer the sex-specific demography of two of the largest migrations in recent European prehistory. Using genome-wide ancient genetic data spanning the last 10,000 years, Dr. Goldberg and the coauthors found contrasting patterns of sex bias during the Neolithic migration that spread farming and later Bronze Age migrations, suggesting that different sociocultural processes drove the two events.

Shortly after winning the award, Dr. Goldberg completed her PhD with Noah Rosenberg at Stanford in 2017. She completed her bachelor's degree in mathematics and evolutionary anthropology at the University of Michigan in 2012. Dr. Goldberg is currently a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley and is excited to be starting her lab at Duke University in 2018. Both a population geneticist and anthropologist by training, she focuses on disentangling the interplay between human and animal demography, the environment, and cultural change by developing new quantitative methods. Dr. Goldberg has benefited immensely from the community of AAAG members, with mentorship by experts in our field and, perhaps most important, through a network of other students and postdocs for support and excellent science. [End Page 172]



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