Current research project
Paleogenomic annotation of historical Cinchona bark samples across time and space.
I am thrilled to unravel the evolutionary history of Cinchona bark from modern and ancient samples. This project has a special meaning for me since Cinchona is originally from my region and has played a big role for almost 400 years for our civilization.
With the emergence of ancient DNA techniques combined with high-throughput sequencing (paleogenomics), new opportunities for exploring and using natural history collections have emerged. Cinchona bark, the source of quinine for treatment of malaria, is an outstanding time referenced model system. We are using use both modern samples across their geographical range, as well as unrivalled historical collections of about 1000 specimens documenting 150 years of collecting and breeding experiments including samples from forests that no longer exist as well as the chemically annotated collections of Howard & Sons.