29.09.2020 - 10:28
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Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture

Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0)341 3550 - 315
fax: +49 (0)341 3550 - 333

e-mail: cissewski@eva.mpg.de

Adam Powell

Senior Researcher

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig  

E-mail: adam_powell@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Office: level 1, room b1.11

Research interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

I work on the interactions between human genetic and cultural evolutionary systems, integrating methods and data from population genetics, archaeogenetics, archaeology, anthropology and historical linguistics to understand human population history. I develop integrated simulation and statistical inference methods, aiming to build a unified gene-culture coevolutionary framework for human demographic inference. I am a member of the Theory in Cultural Evolution Lab based in HBEC, and lead the ERC-funded research project Waves, focusing on the population history of the South Pacific.

Curriculum Vitae


2019 to presentSenior Scientist / ERC Research Group Leader
Department of Human Behaviour, Ecology and 
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA), Leipzig, Germany
2015 to 2019Research Group Leader: Gene-culture Coevolution
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution & Department of Archaeogenetics
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH), Jena, Germany
2013 to 2015Postdoctoral Research Associate
Palaeogenetics Group, Institute of Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
2010 to 2012Postdoctoral Research Associate
UCL Genetics Institute, University College London (UCL), UK
2006 to 2010PhD in Population genetics
“Demography and the evolution of genetic and cultural variation”
Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (GEE), University College London (UCL), London, UK
1999 to 2003BSc in Mathematics (Honours)
University of Exeter, Exeter, UK


2018Waves of history in the South Pacific: A gene-culture coevolutionary approach. European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (758967), PI, €1,500,000
2018INTERACT: Human interactions during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Western Europe: The dual perspectives of cultural and biological exchanges. ANR-DFG, PIs Marie-France Deguilloux & Dr Wolfgang Haak, co-investigator, €671,562
2018Waves of Change: Human migration and adaptation in prehistoric Indonesia. Marsden Fund, New Zealand (18-UOO-135), PI Dr Rebecca Kinaston, associate investigator, NZD 300,000
2018Em busca de pegadas invisíveis: para um modelo multidisciplinar de difusão das línguas Khoe-Kwadi e do pastoralismo na África Austral. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (29273), PI Jorge Rocha, co-investigator, €237,464
20101st prize award, Postgraduate Symposium, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL
20064-year PhD studentship, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity, UCL


Posth C, Nägele K, Colleran H, … , Krause J & Powell A (2019) Response to “Ancient DNA and its contribution to understanding the human history of the Pacific Islands” (Bedford et al. 2018) Archaeology in Oceania

Posth C, Nägele K, Colleran H, … , Krause J & Powell A (2018) Waves of history in Remote Oceania: language continuity despite population replacement in Vanuatu. Nature Ecology & Evolution doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0498-2

Kandler A & Powell A (2018) Generative inference for cultural evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 373(1743): 20170056

Unterländer M, Palstra F, Lazaridis I, … , Powell A, … , Reich D  & Burger J (2017) Ancestry, demography and descendants of Iron Age nomads of the Eurasian Steppe. Nature Communications 8: 14615

Henrich J, Boyd R, Derex M, Kline MA, Mesoudi A, Muthukrishna M, Powell A, Shennan SJ & Thomas MG (2016) Understanding cumulative cultural evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 113(44):  E6724–E6725

Posth C, Renaud G, Mittnik A, … , Haak W, Powell A & Krause J (2016) Pleistocene mitochondrial genomes suggest a single major dispersal of non-Africans and a Late Glacial population turnover in Europe. Current Biology 26(6): 827-833

Kandler A & Powell A (2015) Inferring learning strategies from cultural frequency data. In Learning strategies and cultural evolution during the Palaeolithic, edited by Mesoudi A & Aoki K. Springer: Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series

Scheu A, Powell A, Bollongino R, Vigne J-D, Tresset A, Çakırlar C, Benecke N & Burger J (2015) The genetic prehistory of domesticated cattle from their origin to the spread across Europe. BMC Genetics 16: 54

Bollongino R, Nehlich O, Richards MP, Orschiedt J, Thomas MG, Sell C, Fajkosova Z, Powell A & Burger J (2013) 2,000 years of parallel societies in Stone Age Central Europe. Science 342:479-481

Gavin MC, Botero CA, Bowern C, … , Powell A, Rangel TF, Stepp JR, Trautwein M, Verdolin JL & Yanega G (2013) Towards a mechanistic understanding of linguistic diversity. Bioscience 63(7): 524-535

Kamberov YG, Wang S, Tan J, … , Powell A, … , Morgan BA & Sabeti PC (2013) Modeling human evolution in mice: An adaptive variant of EDAR drives pleiotropic changes in mice and humans. Cell 152: 691-702

Bollongino R, Burger J, Powell A, Mashkour M, Vigne J-D & Thomas MG (2012) Modern Taurine Cattle descended from small number of Near-Eastern founders. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29(9): 2101-2104

Brace S, Barnes I, Powell A, Pearson R, Woolaver LG, Thomas MG & Turvey ST (2012) Population history of the Hispaniolan hutia Plagiodontia aedium (Rodentia: Capromyidae): testing the model of ancient differentiation on a geotectonically complex Caribbean island. Molecular Ecology 21(9): 2239-2253

Gerbault P, Powell A & Thomas MG (2012) Evaluating demographic models for goat domestication using mitochondrial DNA sequences. Anthropozoologica (Proceedings of ICAZ 2010)

Gerbault P, Liebert A, Itan Y, Powell A, Currat M, Burger J, Swallow DM & Thomas MG (2011) Evolution of lactase persistence: an example of human niche construction. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 366(1566): 863-877

Powell A, Thomas MG & Shennan SJ (2010) Demography and variation in the accumulation of culturally inherited skills. In Innovation in Cultural Systems: Contributions from Evolutionary Anthropology, edited by O’Brien MJ & Shennan SJ. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Veeramah KR, Connell BA, Pour NA, Powell A, … , Weale ME, Bradman N & Thomas MG (2010) Little genetic differentiation as assessed by uniparental markers in the presence of substantial language variation in peoples of the Cross River region of Nigeria. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 92

Powell A, Shennan SJ, Thomas MG (2009) Late Pleistocene demography and the appearance of modern human behavior. Science 324: 1298-130

Itan Y, Powell A, Beaumont MA, Burger J & Thomas MG (2009) The origins of lactase persistence in Europe PLoS Computational Biology 5: e1000491