Jun 21, 2010

Round Table Discussion on July 9, 2010

We welcome your participation in our Round Table Discussion with Dr. Sang-Hyun Jee (National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea), for exchanging the opinions on common scientific interests.

Dr. Jee got his PhD degree in Chung-Ang University, Korea. His main research interests focus on population genetics for reconstructing historical migration and genetic evolution in ancient populations (human, animals, plant etc) by the molecular analysis of biological remains from archaeological sites of in the past. He is currently working for Conservation Science Division, National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea.

Below is the abstract of his lecture on "Applications of the Ancient Biomolecular Analysis in Cultural Heritage"

The biomolecules can frequently be detected in ancient materials. A nucleic acids, amino acids, lipids, and carbohydrates are important biomolecules that provide direct evidence for human activity in the past. Most biomolecules were founded to be mixed with amorphous organic materials isolated and analyzed using biochemical, and molecular biological techniques have provided insight into our understanding of ancient biological events at the molecular level. Now, the research of ancient biomolecules has been applying to variable archaeological remains by NRICH (National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage) in Korean. The aims of the research were to understand the peopling, palaeodiet, and palaeoecology in the past of an area during a given period of its history in the Korean Peninsula. Currently, ancient DNA (aDNA) and isotope analysis of human bone from the Joseon Dynasty period is performed continuously to reconstruct genetic structure and past dietary between modern and ancient Korean populations. In addition, studies of archaeological residues from some ancient potsherd and soil excavated from Neungsan-ri, Buyeo and Wanggoong-ri, Iksan, respectively have targeted the recovery of lipids using mass spectrometry. The results may provide evidence for understanding of life style in the Baekje Kindom preiod.

Photos of the RTD are here!!!

Jun 14, 2010

2009 Seoul International Conference on Ancient DNA and Paleopathology

We hosted 2009 Seoul International Conference on Ancient DNA and Paleopathology. Even if it was not a big conference where many people aggregate and discuss about common interest,  the conf time was very happy and enjoyable for every attendant. There were five presentations in the conference.

Dr. Dong Hoon Shin (Seoul National University, Korea) for
Paleopathological Studies in Korea

Dr. Israel Hershkovitz (Tel Aviv University, Israel), an anthropologist and anatomist, is from the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. He is the Head of the Tassiya and Dr. Yossef Meyshan Chair for the History and Philosophy of Medicine and Head of the Dan David Laboratory for the Search and Study of Modern Humans. He is also in charge of the fossil collection at Tel Aviv University, considered by many to be one of the most important in the world. He was the chief anthropologists in many of the prehistoric and historic excavations carried out in Israel in the last 30 years. He gained lot of field and laboratory experience and published considerable amount of papers on his findings. He is considered a leading authority in Paleopathology (identification and origin of diseases) and Evolutionary Medicine. His major scientific activities are in the following domains: A. Biohistory: The impact of the transition from foraging and hunting (Natufian culture) to farming (Pre-pottery Neolithic) on human health, B. Human evolution: Searching for the origin of anatomically modern humans in the Levant (Misliya and Qessem caves), C. Evolutionary medicine (promoting the concept of compromise design), mainly in the region of spine pathologies, D. The history of the Land of Israel as told by bones (e.g., leprosy, crucifixion), and E. Skeletal biology and forensic anthropology (sex and age identification).

Paleopathology-New Horizons
"The majority of Physical Anthropology’s forefathers, more or less worldwide, were physicians enchanted by the newly emerging ideas regarding evolution and the findings of early human fossils in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Anatomy departments at medical schools became a warm home for physical anthropologists. For more than a century, anthropologists have pretended that paleopathology may significantly contribute to the better health of modern human populations.
With the development of new technologies that enable extraction of DNA from ancient bones and mummified tissues, these hopes have been considerably enhanced. But have we been wrong from the very beginning? Is paleopathology only the study of ancient diseases? Is it useful in understanding the past history of diseases, but cannot be applied to practical treatment? The current study deals with these questions and raises an alternative approach."

Dr. Ildiko Pap (Hungarian Natural History Museum, Hungary) has been a head of Department of Anthropology, Hungarian Natural History Museum since 1993. Her research interests include anthropological studies to reconstruct human population history; middle and Upper Paleolithic and Carpathian Basin from Neolithic to the Middle Ages; stress indicators in the historical populations of Hungary; interdisciplinary examination of 18th-19th century mummies, Dominican Church of Vac, Hungary. Dr. Pap is currently a secretary of Anthropological Committee, Biological Department, Hungarian Academy of Sciences; and member of board, Forensic Anthropological Society of Europe.

Anthropological Studies in Hungary
"This essay offers a brief and selected review of the paleoanthropological research in Hungary The study mostly focuses: 1) Short history of physical anthropology in Hungary, 2) Organizations of anthropology, scientific committees, 3)Research institutes in anthropology in Hungary: universities, museums, and others, 4) Anthropological collections in Hungary, 5) Field of research on living and historical population, 6) The main topics and trends of the researches in historical anthropology: The reconstruction of historical populations of the Central Danubian Basin by genetic methods, Diachronic trends in the Central Danubian Basin, The reconstruction of life in the past, Paleopathological researches. At the end of the review there is a brief report on the current state of the Hungarian anthropological collections, housed in the Anthropological Department of the Hungarian Natural History Museum, the Department of Anthropology, University of Szeged and in different county museums."

Dr. Myeung Ju Kim (Dankook University, Korea) for
Establishment of sample collection much appropriate for current archaeological sciences

IFM originally planned to hold Seoul conference annually, and providing paleoplathologists in Korea and foreign countries with chances of exchanging the opinions on common interests. 

Anyway, one of the most important things for the researchers in this field must be friendship. Who can decide to study paleopathology for being rich or publication in Nature (of course, if it could be, I must be delighted)? It's for our curiosity, the fundamental basis of all the science existed.

Thank you for joining us again!!

Jun 13, 2010

RTD in May 12, 2010

Dr. Mark Spigelman with one of graduate students in my class. After lecture

Dr. Mark Spigelman, the paleopathologist of tuberculosis studies, comes to Korea to lecture before my graduate students in SNU. He also discuss in RTD about our common interests shared by both sides, researchers in Korea and Israel.

I hope he could enjoy happy stay in Korea.

The abbreviated CV of Dr. Mark Spigelman:

MB BS. Sydney University 1965.
FRCS. Royal College of Surgeons London 1971.
B Sc(Arch) Hons(Upper 2'nd). Institute of Archaeology UCL London 1994.

"Australian citizen currently residing and working in the UK as a human remains specialist/ anthropologist, researching the history and development of microbial diseases utilizing microbiological techniques on Ancient human remains. Previously a consulting surgeon for 25 years in Sydney Australia. Since becoming an Archaeologist/Anthropologist I have concentrated on developing the study of Paleomicrobiology and developing relationship between microbial diseases of the past and the diseases of today. I have developed extensive techniques for minimally destructive sampling of human remains particularly endoscopic sampling of mummies-which I have now done on over 500 occasions. I have lectured on the subject worldwide and our work has featured in many documentaries e.g. National Geographic, Discovery Channel, ABC as well as in many magazine and newspapers. Currently we have joint project with over 20 museums and universities worldwide. Whilst concentrating currently on tuberculosis and leprosy we have also had success in finding Leischmania, Malaria and Schistosoma in ancient tissues other bio-molecules such as proteins and lipids are also being investigated. We are currently also looking at histological examination of mummy specimens as well as the standard assessment of ancient material for paleopathological lesions...."

He is currently Visiting Professor Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious & Tropical Diseases and Ancient DNA Hadassah Medical School Hebrew University Jerusalem Israel; and Visiting Scientist Hadassah Medical School Hebrew University Jerusalem Israel.
He was the chair of 6th international Conference on ancient DNA Israel July 2002. And The Scientific Committee member of International Congress of Mummy Studies.

The information of the lecture in RTD is available at  http://shinpaleopathology.blogspot.com/2010/03/special-lecture-on-may-13-2010.html

RTD in April 14, 2010

The invited researcher for RTD in April, 2010 was Dr. Francisca Alves Cardoso (Federal University of Pará, Belem, Brazil; CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN ANTHROPOLOGY, FCSH-UNL, Portugal). She got her PhD degree in Durham University, UK (on Biological Anthropology/Paleopathology). Below is her research interests.

"Currently, my main research interests still focus on Physical Anthropology, specifically Paleopathology and Paleoepidemiology, within a Biocultural perspective. The importance of socio-economic and cultural variables in the interpretation of human skeletons represents an important aspect of my research. I have been encouraging a constructive discussion on the methods employed in the measurement and interpretation of pathological lesions, and promoting the use of new technologies, which may improve Paleopathological analysis. These include new imaging techniques, such as 3D scanning, as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. The development of statistical designs / models to analyse bony lesions, and permit a better interpretation of health based on human skeletons is another of my concerns. Most recently, I have also addressed issues related with ethical questions associated with reburial of human skeletons, and the preservation of human skeletal remains as patrimonial heritage."

After session, we also had happy dinner time. Thanks for all the participants in our Roundtable Discussion!!!