Our Outreach

Welcome to microARCH’s outreach page! This section is dedicated to providing educators, budding scientists, and the media with the tools with which to engage with ancient microbiome research. As learners and educators ourselves, we believe that our science should be accessible to the public. If you have questions, suggestions, or requests for new materials, please contact us.

Ancient DNA Journal Club

MicroARCH's biweekly ancient DNA Journal club is a free online event open to all researchers from the undergraduate to the faculty level. Established locally in Penn State in the Fall of 2019, our discussions have grown to include a wide range of domestic and international participants. Papers for upkeeping meetings are emailed out to participants and advertised on our twitter posts. For more information or to be added to the listserv, email us at asg5573 [at] psu.edu

Note: aDNA Journal Club operates according to the PSU academic calendar during the fall and spring semesters.

Fall 2021

Tracking the transition to agriculture in Southern Europe through ancient DNA analysis of dental calculus

Ancient DNA studies: Use of ethnonyms and collaborative research in South America

Dental calculus as a proxy for animal microbiomes

Mycobacterium leprae diversity and population dynamics in medieval Europe from novel ancient genomes

Metagenomic analysis of ancient dental calculus reveals unexplored diversity of oral archaeal Methanobrevibacter

Ethics of DNA research on human remains: five globally applicable guidelines

Spring 2021

Unearthing Neanderthal population history using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from cave sediments

An integrative skeletal and paleogenomic analysis of prehistoric stature variation suggests relatively reduced health for early European farmers

Do I have something in my teeth? The trouble with genetic analyses of diet from archaeological dental calculus

An ethical crisis in ancient DNA research: Insights from the Chaco Canyon controversy as a case study

Integrative analysis of DNA, macroscopic remains and stable isotopes of dog coprolites to reconstruct community diet

Generations of genomes: advances in paleogenomics technology and engagement for Indigenous people of the Americas

Dire wolves were the last of an ancient New World canid lineage

Isolation, Library Preparation, and Bioinformatic Analysis of Historical and Ancient Plant DNA

Fall 2020

Origins and genetic legacy of prehistoric dogs

Functional diversity of microbial ecologies estimated from ancient human coprolites and dental calculus

The Impact of Ancient Genome Studies in Archaeology

Population genomics of the Viking world

Ancient Bacterial Genomes Reveal a High Diversity of Treponema pallidum Strains in Early Modern Europe

Fostering Responsible Research on Ancient DNA

Educator Resources

This section is intended to provide K-12 educators with the resources to instruct students in ancient DNA, microbiome, and archaeological topics. If you do not find what you are looking for on this page or have suggestions for new materials, please contact us at asg5573@psu.edu and we will be happy to work with you to generate new content.

Resource List

Lectures & Instructional Videos:

How Humans and the Environment Interact

Dr. Weyrich discusses how humans and the enviornment interact as part of the 7th Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander microbiome reflects long term connection to country

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander microbiome reflects long term connection to country (talk by Dr. Weyrich at the 7th Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium).

Changing the Game in Ancient DNA Research | The Symbiotic Podcast Live

Laura Weyrich's research is on the cutting edge of inquiry into the oral microbiome, and she's leading efforts to better understand the impact of diet on the communities of microorganisms that reside in our mouths and their influence on human health. In this episode, Weyrich, Associate Professor of Anthropology and a member of the Huck's Microbiome Center, talks about her work with Neanderthal teeth, the ethics of dealing with human remains, and how shifts in human activity have changed the makeup of our microbiomes.

Conversation with Associate Professor of Anthropology Laura Weyrich

Dr. Weyrich discusses the role of the microbiome in our evolution and how it has shaped our health, diet, culture, and lived experience with a discussion panel.

Publications & Blog Posts for Kids

Teeth gunk and fossilised poo—exploring the ancient microbiome

As part of the Past, Present and Future of the Human Niche series, Assoc Prof Laura Weyrich joins host Graeme Richardson and colleagues from the Department of Archaeology in conversation about the Human Niche.

The Millions of Microbial Reasons You Need to Brush Your Teeth

A scientific journal paper for young readers authored by our lab members covering the oral microbiome and its realtion to evolution and health.

Lesson Plans


External Resources

How Our Microbes Make Us Who We Are”: TED Talk by Rob Knight

Genetic Science Learning Center: The Human Microbiome

Gutcheck: The Microbiome Game

NIH Tools for Teaching the Microbiome

Schoolzone: Teaching the Human Microbiome In Schools