Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Dr. Wolfgang Haak

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena



Dr. Wolfgang Haak

Dr. Wolfgang Haak

Dr. Wolfgang Haak


  • +49 (0) 3641 686-642


Main Focus

Leader of the Molecular Anthropology Group

My group works at the interface of human genetics, medical sciences, archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics. Our main aim is to investigate and evaluate ancient human genome-wide data in the light of data from neighbouring disciplines to generate a detailed and comprehensive portrait of human prehistory over the last 20,000 years. Our portfolio ranges from global outlooks on population affinities, migrations and past demography to intra-group relationships, and also encompasses the interaction with and response to changing environmental factors, such as climate, diet and disease.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in anthropology, pre- and protohistory and paleontology at the Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany. 
  • PhD Thesis 'Population genetics of Central Europe's first farmers' (2006)
  • Postdoc in ancient human DNA at the Institute for Anthropology, JG University Mainz, Germany (2006-2007)
  • Postdoc in National Geographics 'The Genographic Project' (aDNA node, Adelaide; 2007-2011)
  • Group leader 'Ancient human DNA' at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA in Adelaide, Australia (2007-2015)
  • since April 2015 Group leader 'Molecular Anthropology' at MPI-SHH, see above

Select publications:
  • Schiffels S, Haak W, Paajanen P, Llamas B, Popescu E, Loe L, Clarke R, Lyons A, Mortimer R, Sayer D, Tyler-Smith C, Cooper A, Durbin R (2016) Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history. Nature Communications 7:10408. doi:10.1038/ncomms10408.
  • Mathieson I, Lazaridis I, [33 authors], Haak W, Pinhasi R, Reich D (2015) Genome-wide patterns of selection in 230 ancient Eurasians. Nature 528: 499-503. doi:10.1038/nature16152.
  • Haak W, Lazaridis I, [33 authors], Cooper A, Alt KW, Reich D (2015) Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe. Nature 522: 207-211. doi:10.1038/nature14317.
  • Brandt G, Szécsényi-Nagy A, Roth C, Alt KW, Haak W (2015) Human paleogenetics of Europe – the known knowns and the known unknowns. Journal of Human Evolution 79: 73-92. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.06.017.
  • Lazaridis I, Patterson N, [16 authors], Haak W, [77 authors], Reich D, Krause J (2014) Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans. Nature 513: 409–413. doi:10.1038/nature13673.
  • Fehren-Schmitz L, Haak W, Mächtle B, Masch F, Llamas B, Tomasto Cagigao E, Sossna V, Schittek K, Isla Cuadrado, Eitel B, Reindel M (2014) Climate change underlies global demographic, genetic, and cultural transitions in pre-Columbian southern Peru. PNAS 111: 9443-9448. doi/10.1073/pnas.1403466111
  • Brandt G, Haak W, Adler CJ, Roth C, Szécsényi-Nagy A, Karimnia S, Möller-Rieker S, Meller H, Ganslmeier R, Friederich S, Dresely V, Nicklisch N, Pickrell J, Sirocko F, Reich D, Cooper A, Alt KW, The Genographic Consortium (2013) Ancient DNA Reveals Key Stages in the Formation of Central European Mitochondrial Genetic Diversity. Science 342: 257-261. doi:10.1126/science.1241844.
  • Brotherton P, Haak W, Templeton J, Brandt G, Soubrier J, Adler CJ, Richards SM, Der Sarkissian C, Ganslmeier R, Friederich S, Dresely V, van Oven M, Kenyon R, Van der Hoek M, Korlach J, Luong K, Ho SYW, Quintana-Murci L, Behar DM, Meller H, Alt KW, Cooper A, The Genographic Consortium1 (2013) Neolithic mitochondrial haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans. Nature Communications 4 (1764). doi:10.1038/ncomms2656.
  • Adler CJ, Dobney K, Weyrich L, Kaidonis J, Walker AW, Haak W, Bradshaw CJA, Townsend G, Sołtysiak, A, Alt KW, Parkhill J, Cooper, A (2013). Ancient DNA records the impacts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions on human oral microbiota and disease. Nature Genetics 45 (4): 450-455. doi:10.1038/ng.2536.
  • Der Sarkissian C, Balanovsky O, Brandt G, Khartanovich V, Buzhilova A, Koshel S, Zaporozhchenko V, Moiseyev V, Gronenborn D, Kolpakov E, Shumkin V, Alt KW, Balanovska E, Cooper A, Haak W, The Genographic Consortium1 (2013). Ancient DNA Reveals Prehistoric Gene-Flow from Siberia in the Complex Human Population History of North East Europe. PLoS Genetics 9 (2): e1003296. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003296.
  • Haak W, Balanovsky O, Sanchez JJ, Koshel S, Zaporozhchenko V, Adler CJ, Der Sarkissian CSI, Brandt G, Schwarz C, Nicklisch N, Dresely V, Fritsch B, Balanovska E, Villems R, Meller H, Alt KW, Cooper A, the Genographic Consortium (2010) Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities. PLoS Biology 8 (11): e1000536. 
  • Haak W, Brandt G, De Jong HN, Meyer C, Ganslmeier R, Heyd V, Hawkesworth C, Pike AWG, Meller H, Alt KW (2008) Ancient DNA, strontium isotopes, and osteological analyses shed light on social and kinship organization of the later stone age. PNAS 105 (47): 18226-18231.

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Department of Archaeogenetics
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