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.