Dr. Eske Willerslev is an evolutionary geneticist. He is particularly known for sequencing the first ancient human genome and establishing the field of environmental DNA, where modern and ancient DNA from higher plants and animals are obtained directly from environmental samples. Willerslev has broad research interest in the fields of ecology and evolution. He started out as an environmental microbiologist, then moved into the field of invertebrate systematics, and later into mammalian population genetics and community ecology. Over the past nine years Willerslev has focused major parts of his research in understanding processes forming contemporary human genetic diversity, distribution, and disease load. In his research, Willerslev is known for his multidisciplinary approach collaborating with researchers from many different fields such as archaeology, anthropology, palaeontology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and mathematics, but also philosophy. However, his primary experimental approach is ancient DNA: He was the first to establish the field of Ice Core Genetics (PNAS 1999), the field of ancient and modern Environmental DNA (Science 2003), and Ancient Human Genomics (Nature 2010), large-scale past population genetics/genomics (Nature 2011; Science 2014; Nature 2015), and large-scale past disease population genomics (Cell 2015). He has more than 200-peer-reviewed papers of which more than 50 are in the journals Nature and Science. He is part of Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers since 2018. He has supervised more than 60 students and post docs. He has communicated his scientific work to the public through multiple films, popular books.

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Contemporary human disease load, Human genetic diversity and distribution, Large-scale ancient human population genomic and pathogen studies, Environmental DNA, Ancient human genome, Plant and mammal ecology

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