My research

My research focuses on the study of human population prehistory through our genetic variability, and on the relationships between genetic fingerprints and demographic events such as human migration, diffusion and contact. I am interested in exploring parallels between genetic and other anthropological disciplines, especially linguistics. I studied the genetic prehistory of various regions of the world: sub-Saharan Africa, southern Europe, Australia and, in particular, South America. I carried fieldwork expeditions in Botswana, Peru, Chile and Italy. I specialized in the study of Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA variation, and in the field of genetic genealogy, while nowadays I work on large global genomic datasets. I am interested in the impact of genetic studies on our society, and how they influence our perception of group and single identity. I focus on improving participation and transparency in human genetic studies, in particular towards the inclusion of minorities and indigenous groups.

I am currently a senior Assistant Professor in genetics at the University of Cagliari, Italy. I am also affiliated with the University of Zurich, where I lead the research group “Human genetic diversity across languages and cultures” in the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, with the support of the Department of Comparative Language Science. I am collaborating with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany), Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution.