Dr. Maria Spyrou was born in Glasgow, Scotland. She earned her PhD in Archaeological Sciences from the University of Tübingen and her MSc in Medical Microbiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She recently completed two years of post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena and is currently a research scientist at the Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen.
Her research entails the study of infectious disease signatures in archaeological remains. Specifically, she uses ancient DNA as a tool for understanding the origins, distribution and evolution of ancient infectious disease. During her PhD, she focused on the evolutionarily history of the plague pathogen, Yersinia pestis, for which she was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal as a recognition of her work by the Max Planck Society. Currently, her research is being expanded to the study of additional pathogenic agents, with a primarily focus on populations of the early Neolithic to the late Medieval periods in Eurasia.