Ezekia Mtetwa (Researcher), Cesar Fortes-Lima (Postdoc), Mario Vicente (PhD student), Cécile Jolly (Research Engineer), Jessica de Loma Olson (visiting PhD student), Rickard Hammarén (PhD student), Carina Schlebusch (PI).  Not on photo: Concetta Burgarella (Postdoc), Imke Lankheet (PhD student) and Nina Hollfelder (Postdoc)

Carina Schlebusch, Group leader

csI am highly motivated and passionate about my work, i.e. using genetic research as a tool to investigate human history. My special interest and expertise in the population history of Africa, allow me the opportunity to investigate both recent population movements, associated with farming, as well as deep human history, which is rooted in Africa. I share this passion with the current members of my group and students that I supervise and co-supervise. My research philosophy is thus to tap into this passion that my group members, students, collaborators and I share for research in the history of our species, and through these interactions formulate my research questions and build my research group. I conducted my PhD work at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa where I focused on genetic diversity in Khoisan-speaking populations from southern Africa. Subsequently I completed my postdoctoral studies at the Jakobsson Lab at Uppsala University. Currently I am employed as Associate Professor and Associate Senior Lecturer at the Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University and conduct my research as a subgroup in the Human Evolution Program (link).

Mario Vicente, PhD student


My studies focus on the demographic history of Sub-Saharan Neolithic farmer and herder groups. I aim to investigate the migration routes of Bantu and Khoe-speaking populations throughout sub-Saharan Africa and their interaction with autochthonous inhabitants by using genome-wide data. My main research interests are population genetics, human evolution and African demography.


Cesar Fortes-Lima, Postdoc



African populations have the greatest genetic diversity among all human groups, but largely remain under-represented in human genomic studies. My main interest is in generating and analyzing new genomic data among sub-Saharan African and African Diaspora populations, to better understand migration patterns and gene flow within and outside the continent. I received my BSc degree in Biology at Complutense University of Madrid, and my MPhil in Physical Anthropology at Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. Later, I completed my PhD in Biological Anthropology at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. During my three-year PhD project, I investigated demographic histories of African-descendant populations in South America and the impact of the slave trade in the current population. Then, I joined the Evolutionary Anthropology team at CNRS-MNHN in Paris, where I developed biostatistical methods for analyzing complex models of admixture events in populations that underwent the slave trade, using simulations and Bayesian inference. Currently, I am a postdoc at Schlebusch Lab in Uppsala University, where I am studying past migration routes and gene flow among Eastern African populations during the Indian ocean slave trade. More about myself, I enjoy photography and spend my spare time hiking and traveling.

Rickard Hammaren, PhD student

Prag_smalThe working title of my thesis is “The migration history of African farmers and herders: Inferences from ancient and modern-day DNA.” My focus is on Eastern and Southern Africa and the historic migrations that have shaped that part of the continents’ demography.

I have a Bachelors and Masters of Science degree in Molecular Biology with an orientation towards Bioinformatics. Before coming to Uppsala and starting my Phd I was working as a bioinformatician at the sequencing center National Genomics Infrastructure at Science for Life laboratory in Stockholm.

Cecile Jolly, Research Engineer


I am a trained physiologist and molecular biologist. I received my Master degree in organismal biology at the University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris (France) and my PhD degree at the University of Bergen, Norway. I have several years of experience applying methods used for Illumina sequencing and a strong personal interest in history and archeology.

Currently I work as lab manager for the Schlebusch group, assisting students and researchers in their projects, both in the lab and during field work.

Concetta Burgarella, Postdoc (Marie Curie Fellow)

Concetta_Burgarella_photoI am an evolutionary biologist and I use population genetics approaches to address the ecology and evolution of wild and domesticated species. I am interested in understanding how different processes, such as the demographic history, mating system and selective pressures, shape genetic diversity. Knowing how diversity forms and evolves is essential for the efficient conservation and use of genetic resources. I have been working mostly on plant species, from trees (oaks and conifers) to model species (the legume Medicago truncatula). My most recent research focuses on the evolution of domesticated species and their relationship with wild relatives. At Schlebusch lab., I aim to address the co-evolution between human populations and cereals in Africa (Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship).

Imke Lankheet, PhD student

Version 2I have a Master degree from Utrecht University, the Netherlands and I am currently doing a PhD in the Schlebusch group. During my studies, I have developed a great interest in human evolution and population genetics. In Carina’s group, I will be working on mtDNA, Y-chomosomes and aDNA in African populations. I have a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences

Involvement in other projects and co-supervision: Co-supervising projects in Karin Brobergs’ group (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm): Jessica De Loma Olson – PhD student; Co-supervising projects in Mattias Jakobssons’ group (Uppsala University):  Gwenna Breton – PhD student


2020: Ezekia Mtetwa, Researcher


I am a trained archaeometallurgist with an extensive background in the later prehistory of sub-Saharan Africa. I did my BA Gen (1999-2001) at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare reading Archaeology, History and Economic History. I then proceeded to do a BA Special Hons Degree in Archaeology at the same university between 2006 and 2007. Subsequently, I undertook an MA in Archaeology at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania from 2009 to 2011. In 2012, I joined the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden, as a PhD employee to research on the archaeology of iron production in Great Zimbabwe, which was at its peak in the 12th and 16th centuries AD as southern Africa’s largest political, religious and trade urban centre. Soon after my doctoral defence in January 2018, I got a 50% researcher position with the same Department, where I assisted Prof Paul Sinclair to study spatio-temporal changes in the use of space within the core zone of Great Zimbabwe urban settlement through the chemical analysis of soils sampled across 720ha of the ancient city.

I am passionate about the use of archaeological science tools and techniques to trace different strands of the African past, which are inaccessible or poorly illuminated through historical sources. I am particularly interested in the origins and development of iron technology in southern Africa and an understanding of the relationships between technological changes, population movements and knowledge transmission. I have just started yet another 50% researcher position at the Department of Organismal Biology in the Schlebusch Lab at Uppsala University, where I am involved in a collaborative investigation of the expansion of Bantu-speaking and iron-using people into Zimbabwe. The study also seeks to understand the relationships of these early Bantu-speaking farmers and the extant populations of Zimbabwe using ancient and modern DNA studies.

2020: Alexandra Coutinho, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). Alex used ancient DNA to study genetic ancestry, admixture and selection in various population groups from southern Africa and Scandinavia

2019: Shannon Perucatti, Master student. (Co-supervised with Marlize Lombard University of Johannesburg). Shannon did meta analyses of various selection scan studies to identify genes and pathways influencing brain development in the evolution of anatomically modern humans

2018: Nina Hollfelder, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). Nina studied genetic ancestry, admixture and selection in various population groups from Northeast and southern Africa

2018: Thijessen Naidoo, PhD student. (Co-supervised with Mattias Jakobsson). TJ studied selection and demographic patterns in human genomic elements

2017: Jingzi Xu, Master student. Jingzi studied Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome variation in southern African hunter-gatherer populations