Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Dr. Stephan Schiffels

Kahlaische Str. 10

07745 Jena



Dr. Stephan Schiffels

Dr. Stephan Schiffels

Dr. Stephan Schiffels


  • +49 (0) 3641 686-636


Main Focus

Leader of the Population Genetics Group

My research focuses on the analysis of human genome data, both from ancient human remains and from contemporary samples. An important part of my work consists of developing new methods to statistically analyze such data in order to reconstruct population history. This includes migration movements between regions and continents, the separation of people into spatially separated subpopulations, as well as changes in population size. By learning about these processes, we can ultimately draw conclusions about human history.

For a complete list of publications, see my Google Scholar page. I am also active on twitter and medium. All of the software that I develop can be found on Github.

Curriculum Vitae

I have studied Physics at the University of Cologne, Germany, and finished my PhD in January 2012. In my thesis I studied asexual adaptation and the effect of genetic linkage on natural selection. From 2012 until 2015 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Richard Durbin at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinton, Cambridge, UK. I have mainly worked on methods to estimate past demography from genome sequences, and on ancient DNA from archaeological sites in East England, dating to the Iron Age and early Anglo-Saxon era. Since September 2015 I am research group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

Selected Publications:

  • Schuenemann V., Peltzer, et al., Haak W., Schiffels S., Krause J. (2017). Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods. Nature Communications
  • Schiffels S., Haak W., Paajanen P., Llamas B., Popescu E., Lou L., et al. (2015). Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history. Nature Communications,
  • Raghavan, M., Steinrücken, M., Harris, K., Schiffels, S., Rasmussen, S., DeGiorgio, M., et al. (2015). Genomic evidence for the Pleistocene and recent population history of Native Americans. Science
  • Pagani, L., Schiffels, S., Gurdasani, D., Danecek, P., Scally, A., Chen, Y., et al. (2015). Tracing the route of modern humans out of Africa by using 225 human genome sequences from Ethiopians and Egyptians. American Journal of Human Genetics
  • Schiffels, S., & Durbin, R. (2014). Inferring human population size and separation history from multiple genome sequences. Nature Genetics

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Department of Archaeogenetics
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