In front: Concetta Burgarella (Researcher), Carina Schlebusch (PI), Imke Lankheet (PhD student), Afifa Chowdhury (Laboratory assistant)
At the back:  Julia Koelman (PhD student), Ivany Argueta Mejia (Masters student), Rickard Hammaren (PhD student), Nina Hollfelder (Postdoc), Cecile Jolly (Research Engineer), Cesar Fortes-Lima (Researcher)

Absent: Viv Ingelis and Lucía Alva Caballero (Master students)

Carina Schlebusch, Group leader

csI am highly motivated and passionate about my work, i.e. using genetic research as a tool to investigate human history. My special interest and expertise in the population history of Africa, allow me the opportunity to investigate both recent population movements, associated with farming, as well as deep human history, which is rooted in Africa. I share this passion with the current members of my group and students that I supervise and co-supervise. My research philosophy is thus to tap into this passion that my group members, students, collaborators and I share for research in the history of our species, and through these interactions formulate my research questions and build my research group. I conducted my PhD work at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa where I focused on genetic diversity in Khoisan-speaking populations from southern Africa. Subsequently I completed my postdoctoral studies at the Jakobsson Lab at Uppsala University. Currently I am employed as Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University and conduct my research as a subgroup in the Human Evolution Program (link).

Cesar Fortes-Lima, Researcher



African populations have the greatest genetic diversity among all human groups, but largely remain under-represented in human genomic studies. My main interest is in generating and analyzing new genomic data among sub-Saharan African and African Diaspora populations, to better understand migration patterns and gene flow within and outside the continent. I received my BSc degree in Biology at Complutense University of Madrid, and my MPhil in Physical Anthropology at Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. Later, I completed my PhD in Biological Anthropology at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. During my three-year PhD project, I investigated demographic histories of African-descendant populations in South America and the impact of the slave trade in the current population. Then, I joined the Evolutionary Anthropology team at CNRS-MNHN in Paris, where I developed biostatistical methods for analyzing complex models of admixture events in populations that underwent the slave trade, using simulations and Bayesian inference. Currently, I am a postdoc at Schlebusch Lab in Uppsala University, where I am studying past migration routes and gene flow among Eastern African populations during the Indian ocean slave trade. More about myself, I enjoy photography and spend my spare time hiking and traveling.

Rickard Hammaren, PhD student


The working title of my thesis is “The migration history of African farmers and herders: Inferences from ancient and modern-day DNA.” My focus is on Eastern and Southern Africa and the historic migrations that have shaped that part of the continents’ demography.

I have a Bachelors and Masters of Science degree in Molecular Biology with an orientation towards Bioinformatics. Before coming to Uppsala and starting my Phd I was working as a bioinformatician at the sequencing center National Genomics Infrastructure at Science for Life laboratory in Stockholm.

Cecile Jolly, Research Engineer

download I am a trained physiologist and molecular biologist. I received my Master degree in organismal biology at the University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris (France) and my PhD degree at the University of Bergen, Norway. I have several years of experience applying methods used for Illumina sequencing and a strong personal interest in history and archeology.

Currently I work as lab manager for the Schlebusch group, assisting students and researchers in their projects, both in the lab and during field work.

Concetta Burgarella, Researcher

Concetta_Burgarella_photoI am an evolutionary biologist and I use population genetics approaches to address the ecology and evolution of wild and domesticated species. I am interested in understanding how different processes, such as the demographic history, mating system and selective pressures, shape genetic diversity. Knowing how diversity forms and evolves is essential for the efficient conservation and use of genetic resources. I have been working mostly on plant species, from trees (oaks and conifers) to model species (the legume Medicago truncatula). My most recent research focuses on the evolution of domesticated species and their relationship with wild relatives. At Schlebusch lab., I aim to address the co-evolution between human populations and cereals in Africa (Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship).

Imke Lankheet, PhD student

Version 2 I have a Master degree from Utrecht University, the Netherlands and I am currently doing a PhD in the Schlebusch group. During my studies, I have developed a great interest in human evolution and population genetics. In Carina’s group, I will be working on mtDNA, Y-chomosomes and aDNA in African populations. I have a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences

Nina Hollfelder, Postdoc

NinaDuring my training in anthropology (at the University of Mainz, Germany), I got interested in working with human population genomics as it allows us to investigate the history of our species using empirical scientific methods. I moved on to Uppsala University to do a PhD working on modern African populations to investigate signals of admixture and their population genetic history. After a short detour working as a bioinformatician in a core facility after I completed my PhD, I decided to return to research. During my postdoctoral studies I plan to further investigate African population history using ancient and modern whole genome sequencing data.

Julia Koelman, PhD student

IMG-20190709-WA0037 - CopyI have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology. During my master’s I specialised in evolutionary biology. In my PhD I am working on varied projects. In my project for Carina’s group, my aim is to identify pathogens in bones and teeth of Iron Age humans from Africa. In other projects for Helena Malmström’s group, I focus on genomics of Stone Age Scandinavian human populations, as well as associated pathogens.

Afifa Chowdhury, Research assistant

1633687014612I have a master’s degree in Forensic Science from Uppsala University. Prior to joining Carina’s group, I worked at the genomics lab in Science for Life Laboratory in Stockholm and at a molecular diagnostics lab in Karolinska Institute. My keen interest in human history and anthropology combined with my experience in genomics drew me to the Schlebusch group. As a research assistant, I work with the members of the group in various projects conducting laboratory and experimental work. My work involves molecular techniques to analyse both modern and ancient DNA.

Ivany Argueta Mejia, Masters student

Nathaniel Buckley, Masters student

Involvement in other projects and co-supervision:

Co-supervising projects in: 

Örjan Carlborgs’ group (Uppsala University): Tillman Rönneburg – PhD student

Helena Malmströms’ group (Uppsala University): Julia Koelman – PhD student


2021: Ragnheiður Diljá Ásmundsdóttir, Master student. (Supervised by Nina Hollfelder). Diljá investigated sex-biased admixture patterns in African populations.

2021: Camille Humbert, Master student. (Supervised by Concetta Burgarella). Camille investigated starch adaptation in African populations.

2021: Jessica De Loma Olson, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Karin Broberg). Jessica investigated arsenic tolerance and adaptation in Andean populations.

2020: Gwenna Breton, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). Gwenna investigated human population history of Africa, through analysing genomes from southern and central African hunter-gatherer groups.

2020: Mario Vicente, PhD student


Mario successfully defended his PhD thesis in April 2020. His studies focused on the demographic history of Sub-Saharan Neolithic farmer and herder groups. He investigated the migration routes and population structure of farming populations throughout sub-Saharan Africa and their interaction with autochthonous inhabitants by using genome-wide data. His research areas were population genetics, human evolution and African demography.

2020: Ezekia Mtetwa, Researcher


Ezekia is a archaeometallurgist with an extensive background in the later prehistory of sub-Saharan Africa. He did his PhD at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden, on the archaeology of iron production in Great Zimbabwe. He joined the Schlebusch group in 2018, as a researcher and left us in early 2020 to take up a postdoctoral position at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University. We continue our collaboration on investigating the expansion of Bantu-speaking and iron-using people into Zimbabwe.

2020: Alexandra Coutinho, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). Alex used ancient DNA to study genetic ancestry, admixture and selection in various population groups from southern Africa and Scandinavia

2019: Shannon Perucatti, Master student. (Co-supervised with Marlize Lombard University of Johannesburg). Shannon did meta analyses of various selection scan studies to identify genes and pathways influencing brain development in the evolution of anatomically modern humans

2018: Nina Hollfelder, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). Nina studied genetic ancestry, admixture and selection in various population groups from Northeast and southern Africa

2018: Thijessen Naidoo, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). TJ studied selection and demographic patterns in human genomic elements

2017: Jingzi Xu, Master student. Jingzi studied Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome variation in southern African hunter-gatherer populations