Graduate Student, Chris Klaes Recently Presented at the Paleopathology Association Conference
Anthropology graduate student Chris Klaes recently presented his research at the Paleopathology Association meeting in Calgary, Alberta. Chris reflects on his experience below.
In April of this year, I traveled to Calgary, Alberta to present my graduate research at the annual Paleopathology Association conference, a satellite meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology. This meeting brings together some of the leading experts in a variety of fields related to physical anthropology, including anthropological genetics, bioarchaeology, primatology and many others and provides a great opportunity for networking. The conference allows for researchers to showcase their work in poster of podium presentations and receive crucial feedback from fellow colleagues in the field. Furthermore, this conference also hosts practical sessions related to grant writing, applying to and succeeding in graduate school and other useful topics for carving out a career in biological anthropology.
The work I presented is related to my research with Dr. Fabian Crespo that involves attempting to understand how past epidemics have shaped human biology. More specifically, we analyze how the immune system and inflammatory responses may be altered in response to exposure to Yersinia pestis, the causal pathogen of the Medieval Black Death in Europe, in an in vitro setting. Ultimately, we hope to gain insight into how past human epidemics have shifted the immune response of the populations that encountered them, a shift that has broad implications for the state of human health given the role of inflammation in chronic human diseases. Our work is done in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Lawrenz from the department of immunology and microbiology here at UofL and Dr. Sharon DeWitte, a bioarchaeologist from the department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina.