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!!

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