Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Irene Gallego Romero discusses Denisovan DNA in a virtual lecture

Shows data collection in the field.
Dr. Gallego Romero’s colleagues collecting cell lines from Papuans.

Dr. Irene Gallego Romero is a human evolutionary biologist who uses genomics, biological anthropology, and pluripotent stem cell biology to understand primate evolutionary adaptions. As a postdoctoral researcher, she established pluripotent stem cell lines for non-human apes as an accessible resource for comparative primate genomics. Her research interests focus on evolutionary adaptations at both short and long time spans – that have occurred in specific human populations.

Denisovan contributions to DNA of present-day Papuans
Immune cells of present-day Papuans that Dr. Irene Gallego Romero uses to learn the contributions of Denisovan DNA to modern DNA.

Dr. Gallego Romero is currently a lecturer at the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. Since moving to Australia in 2017, her research has focused on the evolutionary challenges of humans settling in Island Southeast Asia, particularly in the Indonesian archipelago. Humans have inhabited this region of the world for over 50,000 years, but very little is known about the presence of humans and their adaptations. She was awarded a Leakey Foundation research grant in Spring 2019 for this work.

Speaker photo
Dr. Irene Gallego Romero

“Nearly 10% of humanity calls Island Southeast Asia – Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and many other smaller island nations – home. The fossil record has conclusively demonstrated that the region has long been fertile ground for hominin evolution; even today, individuals of Papuan ancestry carry some of the highest fractions of Denisovan DNA in their genomes… to effects we do not yet understand.”

Dr. Irene Gallego Romero

In this lecture, Dr. Gallego Romero discusses the ongoing research she and her team are doing in partnership with local researchers in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. She will characterize the legacy of DNA from archaic Denisovans that is present-day Papuan DNA. She will also explore the positioning of Indonesia in the global human genetics landscape. 

Join The Leakey Foundation and Irene Gallego Romero for a free virtual lecture. Register now!

October 20, 2020
5 PM Pacific – 6 PM Central – 7 PM Mountain – 8 PM Eastern
Watch live on Leakey Foundation LiveFacebook – Twitter – 

For more about Irene Gallego Romero’s work check out these resources:

The Gallego Romero Lab is part of the Melbourne Integrative Genomics unit and the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. The lab has strong connections to the Centre for Stem Cell Systems. They are also an affiliate member of Stem Cells Australia, a multi-institution, multi-disciplinary initiative to bring together Australia’s leading stem cell research groups.

Immune properties in ancient DNA found in isolated villages might benefit humanity today” by Steve Yozwiak for Science Daily.

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