Maria A Nieves Colon
I am an anthropological geneticist who uses both ancient DNA and modern genomics tools to examine human population history in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Educational Background & Specialties
- Ph.D.: Anthropology, Arizona State University, Phoeniz, AZ, 2017.
- M.A.: Anthropology, Arizona State University, Phoeniz, AZ, 2012.
- B.A.: Anthropology & History of the Americas, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PR, 2009.
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Ancient DNA
- Anthropological genetics
- Migration and admixture
- Human population history
- ANTH3980/5980 Topics in Anthropology: History of Human Health & Disease
Research & Professional Activities
- Senior Scientist: Astrea Forensics / Claret Bioscience LLC , 2019 - 2020
- Affiliated Researcher: Arizona State University , 2019 - 2020
- National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow: Joint affiliation with National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (LANGEBIO-CINVESTAV), Irapuato, MX , 2017 - 2019
- Population history of present-day Caribbean islanders: My research integrates genomics and anthropological perspectives to elucidate the population history of present-day Caribbean communities. Specifically, I am interested in examining how post-colonial processes of migration and admixture shaped the ancestry, culture and health of historically underrepresented or marginalized island groups. Currently I am combining high-resolution genome wide array data and ethnohistorical sources to investigate ancestry and identity among Afro-Caribbean communities in the Lesser Antilles. This research is in collaboration with Jada Benn-Torres (Vanderbilt University) and Andres Moreno-Estrada (LANGEBIO-CINVESTAV).
- Ancient DNA and the pre-colonial Caribbean: I am interested in characterizing the genetic diversity of ancient human communities from the Caribbean islands. My dissertation research examined pre-colonial migrations to the island of Puerto Rico, and elucidated the genetic links between ancient Indigenous communities and present-day islanders. My ancient DNA work re-evaluates existing models for the peopling of the Caribbean, explores the role of DNA in the maintenance of ancient inter-island interaction networks and broadens understanding of the biocultural relationship between present-day Puerto Ricans and ancient Indigenous populations. For this work I collaborate with William J. Pestle (University of Miami).
- STEM Guest Speaker program, John F Kennedy High School: 2020
- El uso del ADN antiguo en el estudio de la historia humana: Video short for National Museum of Anthropology and History, Mexico City (https://youtu.be/TJeDloexsS8) En español, 2019
- Ancient DNA Reconstructs the Genetic Legacies of Precontact Puerto Rico Communities: Nieves Colon, Maria, Pestle WJ, Reynolds AW, Llamas B, de la Fuente C, Fowler, K, Skerry K, Crespo-Torres E, Bustamante CD, Stone AC, Molecular Biology & Evolution, 37 611–626, 2020. Link
- Ancient DNA and Caribbean Archaeology: Nieves Colon, Maria, Society for American Archaeology, The SAA Archaeological Record, 19 26-31, 2019. Link
- Comparison of two ancient DNA extraction protocols for skeletal remains from tropical environments.: Nieves Colon, Maria, Ozga AT, Pestle WJ, Cucina A, Tiesler V, Stanton T, Stone AC., American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 16 824-836, 2018. Link
- National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017 - 2019
- National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, 2016 - 2018
- Rust Family Foundation Grant for Archaeological Research, 2016 - 2017