Molecular & Biomedical Anthropology Student Research Projects

All FRI students present their research posters at campus events. Each cohort presents two posters, the first is a pre-proposal developed in the fall first-year Research Methods Seminar. The second poster represents results from the research proposed in the spring first-year course and then conducted in the fall second-year course. These posters are presented at a public session at the annual FRI Research Day in December. At that event, each student team has an opportunity to talk with other faculty and students about their research results.

Molecular & Biomedical Anthropology Research Themes

  • Lyme disease
  • Genetic variations of Borrelia burgdorferi virulence genes
  • Improved genetic testing for Lyme disease
  • Population Genetics:
    • Human settlement history of the New Guinea Island.
    • Genetic matrilineages and patrilineages of the Caucasus populations

Variation in genes can be used to infer relationships between organisms. Here, a phylogenetic tree visualizes the genetic affinity between Lyme disease bacteria isolated from ticks in Binghamton region (white circles/nodes) and bacteria reported from elsewhere according to the bacteria’s ospC gene DNA sequences.

Cohort 9 2022-23 in Fall 2022, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Investigating the evolution of the spike protein of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2
  • The evolution of monkeypox: the past and present outbreaks
  • The peopling of Polynesia: A mitochondrial DNA perspective
  • The prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in New York State
  • The role of virulence factors of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lyme disease

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2022, as second-year students (research results)

  • Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant BA.5; the spike glycoprotein perspective
  • Microbiome composition in Ixodes scapularis ticks of Broome County, NY
  • Mitochondrial genetic makeup of Western Iranian population
  • Prevalence of human pathogens in Ixodes scapularis ticks of Southern Tier , NY
  • The phylogeography of mitochondrial haplogroups P and Q

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2021, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Diversity of mtDNA haplogroups in Polynesian and Melanesian populations
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of treatments for early disseminated Lyme disease
  • Language and mtDNA correlation in mainland Southeast Asia
  • The effect of vaccination rate on SARS-CoV-2 variation
  • The role of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mutations in immune evasion

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2021, as second-year students (research results)

  • Genetic variation and the differential susceptibility of human populations to SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Investigating reported associations between human Mitochondrial diseases and mtDNA Haplogroups
  • Phylogenetic analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) and Delta Plus (AY.1) variants
  • Phylogeography of Mitochondrial lineages in China: an ancient DNA perspective
  • Tracking the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 spike Glycoprotein in variants of concern

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2020, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Dispersal of human mitochondrial haplogroup U4 in Eurasia
  • Evolution and global dispersal of COVID-19 clades
  • Genetic variations and susceptibility to COVID-19 infection
  • Geographic distribution of pathogenic mitochondrial mutations
  • Tracking distribution of mitochondrial lineages in ancient populations

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2020, as second-year students (research results)

  • Investigating the phylogeography of human haplogroup W: a mitogenomic perspective
  • Lineages of Y-chromosome O and C haplogroups in West Asia: signatures of Mongol conquests?
  • Pandemic report: comparative analysis of SARS-CoV-2 phylogenetic trees
  • Pandemic report: tracking variations in SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein
  • Tales of three clades: phylogenetic analysis of human Y-chromosome J1a

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2019, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Comparison of Genetic Testing Methods for Lyme Disease
  • Evaluating the Risk Factors of Lyme Disease in the Northeastern United States
  • Genetic Adaptations to High Altitude in the Andes, Tibet, and Ethiopian Highland
  • Investigating the Possible Association Between Mitochondrial Haplogroups and Diseases in Human
  • The Origins of the Caucasus Populations According to mtDNA Haplogroups

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2019, as second-year students (research results)

  • Full Mitogenomes of West Papuan Populations: The First Peopling of Sahul
  • Genotyping Lyme Disease Bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi by targeting Decorin-Binding Protein A (DbpA)
  • Phylogenetic Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Lineages From Regional Populations of Georgia
  • Population Genetics of Georgia's Mingrelia Region: A Mitochondrial DNA Perspective
  • Population Genetics of Ixodes scapularis, the Tick Vector of the Lyme Disease in the Southern Tier Region

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2018, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Exploring the Associations between Clinically-Important Mitochondrial DNA Mutations and Haplogroups
  • Impact of Global Warming on the Spread of Black Legged Ticks and Lyme Disease in Northeastern United States
  • Persistence Mechanisms of Borrelia Burgdorferi and Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
  • The Origin and Dispersal of the Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R1b-V88
  • UV Radiation and Evolution of Human Mitochondria

Cohort 4 2017-18 in Fall 2018, as second-year students (research results)

  • Human Mitochondrial Genetic Diversity In Western Iran
  • Origins and Dispersal of Ixodes scapularis, the Tick Vector of the Lyme Disease in the Southern Tier Region: a Mitochondrial DNA Perspective
  • OspC Typing of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme Disease Bacteria, in the Tick Populations of the Southern Tier Region
  • Population Genetics of Southern Anatolia according to mitochondrial DNA
  • Prevalence of Prion Protein Gene Variants Among Kuru Affected Populations of Papua New Guinea

Cohort 4 2017-18 in Fall 2017, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Borrelia burgdorferi Invasion and Lyme Disease Symptoms
  • A Genetic Study of Prehistoric Migrations in Anatolia
  • Genetics of Bone Mass Density
  • Genetics and Linguistics in Bougainville
  • Lyme Disease Co-infections
  • Gene Language Co-Evolution in New Ireland

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2017, as second-year students (research results)

  • Prevalence of the Lyme Disease Spirochete in the Reservoir And Vector in Upper Susquehanna River Basin.
  • Human Settlement History of Southern Coast of Papua According to Mitochondrial DNA
  • Human Settlement History of Papuan Highlands According to Mitochondrial DNA
  • Mitochondrial DNA Diversity in Northern and Western Iranian Populations
  • Association Between Mutations in LCT Gene And Lactase Persistence

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2016, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Prevalence of the Lyme Disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, in the reservoir and vector in Upper Susquehanna river basin.
  • Human settlement history of Papua New Guinea and Australia according to mitochondrial DNA
  • Genetic matrilineages of Iran and Turkey