Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Dr. Christina Warinner

Kahlaische Strasse 10

07745 Jena



Dr. Christina Warinner

Dr. Christina Warinner

Dr. Christina Warinner


  • +49 (0) 3641 686-620

Main Focus

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Christina Warinner earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010, and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and since 2016 she holds a W2 position at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. Dr. Warinner is pioneering the study of ancient human microbiota, and in 2014 she published the first detailed metagenomic and metaproteomic characterization of the ancient human oral microbiome. In 2015, she published a seminal study on the identification of milk proteins in ancient dental calculus and the reconstruction of prehistoric European dairying practices. In the same year, she also was part of a large team that the published the first South American hunter-gatherer gut microbiome and identified Treponema as a key missing ancestral microbe in industrialized societies. She has published two books and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Genetics, PNAS, Current Biology and Nature Communications, and she serves on the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group journal. Her research has earned her Honorable Mention for the Omenn Prize, an annual prize for best article published on evolution, medicine and public health, and her ancient microbiome findings were named among the top 100 scientific discoveries of 2014 by Discover Magazine. Her research has been featured in more than 75 news articles, including stories in Science, Cell, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, The New Scientist, Archaeology Magazine, the LA Times, the Guardian, El Pais, WIRED UK, and CNN, among others. She has presented before the Royal Society of London (2013) and on behalf of the Leakey Foundation (2013, 2016), and in 2015 she was an invited participant at the White House Microbiome Innovation Forum sponsored by the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She has been featured in two documentaries produced by the genome sequencing company Illumina, and her current work on ancient Nepal appears in the award-winning children’s book, Secrets of the Sky Caves. She is a US National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow (2014) and a TED Fellow (2012). Her TED Talks on ancient dental calculus and the evolution of the human diet have been viewed more than 1.5 million times. 

Journal Publications

Velsko IM, Overmyer KA, Speller C, Loe L, Sankaranarayanan K, Collins M, Lewis CM, Bautista Rodriguez J, Chaves E, Coon JJ, Larson G, Warinner C*. The dental calculus metabolome in modern and historic samples. In review. Preprint available at:

Morales-Arce AY*, Hofman CA, Duggan A, Benfer A, Katzenberg MA, McCafferty G, Warinner C*. Successful reconstruction of whole mitochondrial genomes from ancient Central America and Mexico. In review.

Vågene AJ, Campana MG, Robles García N, Warinner C, Spyrou MA, Andrades Valtueña A, Huson D, Tuross N, Herbig A, Bos KI, Krause J. Salmonella enterica genomes recovered from victims of a major 16th century epidemic in Mexico. In review.

Warinner C, Herbig A, Mann AE, Fellows Yates JA, Weiss CL, Burbano HA, Orlando L, Krause J. 2017. A robust framework for microbial archaeology. Annu. Rev. Genom. Hum. Genet. 18. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-genom-091416-035526,

Velsko I, Warinner C*. Bioarchaeology of the human microbiome. Bioarchaeology International, in press.

Bouwman A, Shved N, Akgül G, Rühli F, Warinner C*. Ancient DNA investigation of a medieval German cemetery confirms long-term stability of CCR5-∆32 allele frequencies in Central Europe. Human Biology, in press.

Olsen K, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, Rühli FJ, Warinner C, and Salazar-Garcia DC. (2016) Isotopic anthropology of rural German medieval diet: intra- and inter-population variability. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, in press. DOI: 10.1007/s12520-016-0432-y

Schnorr S, Sankaranarayanan K, Lewis CM, Warinner C*. (2016) Insights into human evolution from ancient and contemporary microbiome studies. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 41:14-26. doi:10.1016/j.gde.2016.07.003

Jeong C, Ozga AT, Witonsky D, Malmstrom H, Edlund H, Hofman CA, Hagan RW, Jakobsson M, Lewis CM, Aldenderfer M, Di Rienzo A, Warinner C*. Long-term genetic stability and a high altitude East Asian origin for the peoples of the high valleys of the Himalayan arc. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 113(27):7485-7490.

Ozga AT, Sankaranarayanan K, Tito RY, Obregon-Tito AJ, Foster M, Tallbull G, Spicer P, Warinner C, Lewis Jr. CM. Oral microbiome characterization of Cheyenne and Arapaho individuals of Oklahoma. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 161:321-327. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.23033

Warinner C. (2016) Dental calculus and the evolution of the human oral microbiome. California Dental Association Journal 44(7):411-420.

Ozga AT, Nieves-Colón MA, Honap T, Sankaranarayanan K, Hofman C, Milner G, Lewis CM, Stone AC, Warinner C*. (2015) Successful enrichment and recovery of whole mitochondrial genomes from ancient human dental calculus.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 160:220-228. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22960

Sankaranarayanan K, Ozga AT, Warinner C, Tito RY, Obregon-Tito AJ, Xu J, Gaffney PM, Jervis L, Cox D, Stephens L, Foster M, Tallbull G, Spicer P, Lewis CM. (2015) Gut microbiome diversity among the Cheyenne & Arapaho of Oklahoma. Current Biology, 25(24):3161-3169. doi:

Ziesemer KA, Mann AE, Sankaranarayanan K, Schroeder H, Ozga AT, Brandt BW, Zaura E, Waters-Rist A, Hoogland M, Salazar Garcia DC, Aldenderfer M, Speller C, Hendy J, Weston DA, MacDonald SJ, Thomas GH, Collins MJ, Lewis CM, Hofman C, Warinner C*. (2015) Intrinsic challenges in ancient microbiome reconstruction using 16S rRNA gene amplification. Scientific Reports 5, 16498. doi: 10.1038/srep16498.

Warinner C, Lewis CM* (2015). Microbiome and health in past and present human populations. American Anthropologist, 117(4):736-737. doi:10.1111/aman.12367.

Obregon-Tito A, Tito R, Metcalf J, Sankaranarayanan K, Clemente J, Ursell L, Xu Z, Van Treuren W, Knight R, Gaffney P, Spicer P, Lawson P, Marin-Reyes L, Trujillo-Villarroel O, Foster M, Guija-Poma E, Troncoso-Corzo L, Warinner C, Ozga A, Lewis, CM. (2015) Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes. Nature Communications, 6, 6505.

Warinner C, Speller C, Collins MJ, Lewis CM. (2015) Ancient Human Microbiomes. Journal of Human Evolution, 79, 125-136.

Warinner C*, Rodrigues JFM, Vyas R, Trachsel C, Shved N, Grossmann J, Radini A, Hancock Y, Tito RY, Fiddyment S, Speller C, Hendy J, Charlton S, Luder HU, Salazar-García DC, Eppler E, Seiler R, Hansen L, Samaniego Castruita JA, Barkow-Oesterreicher S, Teoh KY, Kelstrup C, Olsen JV, Nanni P, Kawai T, Willerslev E, von Mering C, Lewis, Jr. CM, Collins MJ, Gilbert MTP, Rühli F, Cappellini E*. (2014) Pathogens and host immunity in the ancient human oral cavity. Nature Genetics 46, 336-344.

Warinner C*, Hendy J, Speller C, Cappellini E, Fischer R, Trachsel C, Arneborg J, Lynnerup N, Craig OE, Swallow DM, Fotakis A, Christensen RJ, Olsen J, Liebert A, Montalva N, Fiddyment S, Mackie M, Canci A, Bouwman A, Rühli F, Gilbert MTP, Collins MJ*. (2014) Direct Evidence of Milk Consumption from Ancient Human Dental Calculus. Scientific Reports 4, 7104.

Warinner C*, Speller C, Collins MJ. (2014) A New Era in Paleomicrobiology: Prospects for Ancient Dental Calculus as a Long-Term Record of the Human Oral Microbiome. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 370, 20130376.

Krüttli A, Bouwman A, Akgül G, della Casa P, Rühli F, Warinner C*. (2014) Ancient DNA analysis reveals high frequency of European lactase persistence allele in medieval Central Europe. PLoS ONE 9, e86251.

Curtis Huttenhower C, Knight R, Brown CT, Caporaso JG, Clemente JC, Gevers D, Franzosa EA, Kelley ST, Knights D, Ley RE, Mahurkar A, Ravel J, The Scientists for Advancement of Microbiome Research, White O (2014). Advancing the Microbiome Research Community. Cell 159, 227-230.

Shved N, Haas C, Papageorgopoulou C, Guelfirde A, Paulsen K, Warinner C, Bouwman A, Ruehli F*. (2014) Postmortem DNA degradation of human tissue experimentally mummified in salt. PLoS ONE 9, e110753.

Warinner C, Robles García N, and Tuross N. (2013) Maize, beans and the floral isotopic diversity of highland Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(2):868-873.

Guedes J*, Carrasco D, Flad R, Fosse E, Herzfeld M, Lamberg-Karlovsky K, Lewis C, Liebman M, Meadow R, Patterson N, Price M, Reiches M, Richardson S, Shattuck-Heidorn H, Ur J, Urton G, Warinner C. (2013) Is poverty in our genes? A reply to Ashraf and Galor. Current Anthropology 54(1), 71-79.

Warinner C, Robles García N, Spores R, Tuross N. (2012) Disease, demography, and diet in early colonial New Spain: Investigation of a 16th century Mixtec epidemic cemetery at Teposcolula Yucundaa. Latin American Antiquity 23, 467-489.

Aali A, Abar A, Boenke N, Pollard M, Rühli F, Stöllner T, Brothwell D, Good I, Le Bailly M, Link K, Mashkour M, Mowlavi G, Nezamabadi M, Nasab MV, Warinner C. (2012) Ancient Salt mining and salt men: the interdisciplinary Chehrabad Douzlakh project in north-western Iran. Antiquity+ Project Gallery 86, 333.

Warinner C*, d’Alpoim Guedes J, and Goode D. (2011) Establishing open-access online reference collections for archaeobotanical research. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 20(3), 241-244.

Warinner C* and Tuross N. (2010) Tissue isotopic enrichment associated with growth depression in a pig: implications for archaeology and ecology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 141, 486-493.

Warinner C* and Tuross N. (2009) Alkaline cooking and stable isotope diet-tissue discrimination in swine: archaeological implications. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(8), 1690-1697.

Tuross N*, Warinner C, Kirsanow K and Kester C. (2008) Organic Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotopes in a Porcine Controlled Dietary Study. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 22(11), 1741-1745.

Books and Edited Volumes

Houston S, Brittenham C, Mesick C, Tokovinine A, and Warinner C. (2006) Veiled Brightness: A History of Ancient Maya Color. Austin: University of Texas Press. (Book).

Marston JM, d'Alpoim Guedes J, and Warinner C (eds.). (2014) Method and Theory in Paleoethnobotany. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. (Edited Volume)

Book Chapters

Warinner C and Tuross N. (2015) “Ancient DNA and Stable Isotope Analysis of the Teposcolula Grand Plaza Cemetery,” in Nelly Robles-García, ed.  Yucundaa: La ciudad mixteca Yucundaa-Pueblo Viejo de Teposcolula y su transformación prehispánica-colonial. Vol. 2. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

Tuross N, Warinner C, and Robles Garcia N. (2015) “Evidence for Mixtec/Dominican Interaction from the Radiocarbon Dates at Yucundaa (Pueblo Viejo de Teposcolula),” in Nelly Robles-García, ed.  Yucundaa: La ciudad mixteca Yucundaa-Pueblo Viejo de Teposcolula y su transformación prehispánica-colonial. Vol. 2. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

Warinner C. (2014) “From the Ground Up: Advances in Stable Isotope-Based Paleodietary Inference, in John M. Marston, Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, and Christina Warinner (eds.) Method and Theory in Paleoethnobotany. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Warinner C and d'Alpoim Guedes J. (2014) “Digitizing the Archaeobotanical Record” in John M. Marston, Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, and Christina Warinner (eds.) Method and Theory in Paleoethnobotany. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Marston JM, d’Alpoim Guedes J, and Warinner C. (2014) “Paleoethnobotanical Method and Theory in the 21st Century,” in John M. Marston, Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, and Christina Warinner (eds.) Method and Theory in Paleoethnobotany. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Department of Archaeogenetics
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