Susanna Sabin receives 2019 Dieter Rampacher Prize

3. April 2020

For her outstanding dissertation titled “Insights into microbial evolution and ecology from genetic analysis of diverse archaeological materials,” Dr. Susanna Sabin, 25, will be awarded the 2019 Dieter Rampacher Prize of the Max Planck Society. Susanna joined the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena as a Ph.D. student in 2016, where she remained until 2019. As of December 2019, Sabin is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center of Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University.

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Sabin conducting lab work. The MPI-SHH has state-of-the-art clean room facilities for work on ancient samples.

In her work, Susanna analyzes the genetic material of microorganisms obtained from different archaeological finds. These include, for example, the genome of a tuberculosis bacterium from a calcified lung node from the 17th century and the examination of sediment samples from medieval latrines for certain parasites and other microorganisms. Another of Sabin’s studies compares DNA preservation in dental calculus with DNA preservation in the dentin of the same tooth and confirms dental calculus as an excellent preservation environment for DNA across different continents, periods and individuals. Overall, Susanna's paleomicrobiological studies contribute to research that allows detailed insights into human health in the past that were unthinkable only a few years ago.

Dieter Rampacher Prize

Since 1984, the Max Planck Society has awarded the Dieter Rampacher Prize annually to young Ph.D. candidates, usually between the ages of 25 and 27, for their outstanding doctoral work. More information and a list of the winners since 1984 are available at: https://www.mpg.de/prizes/dieter-rampacher-prize

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