Research & Initiatives

The Larena Lab focuses on investigating the origins, diversity and demographic history of human populations, with a special focus on the ethnic groups of the Asia-Pacific region. 

For the past decade or so, we have witnessed a rapid pace of parallel innovations in sequencing technologies, archeogenomics, computational biology, and statistical tools crucial for genomic analysis. This timely development and convergence of interdependent technologies allowed us to sequence, at reasonable speed, lower cost, and in high accuracy, the genomes of geographically diverse present-day and ancient modern human populations.

 

Not only did we define the genomic architecture and diversity of our species, we were also able to uncover the genomes of extinct archaic human species, the Neandertal and the Denisovan. All of these important discoveries provided us the important insights that broadly expanded our understanding of the human past.

 

Our research group takes advantage of these recent developments in technology, with the aim of uncovering the genomic origins, diversity, and demographic history of populations in a largely understudied area of the world: the Asia-Pacific region.

 

We employ a multidisciplinary approach in research. We work closely with computational biologists, linguists, anthropologists, archeologists, geologists, and local historians. More importantly, we also work closely with indigenous populations of the region, taking into account their insights and inputs, involving them as partners in this scientific endeavor, and making sure that their stories are accurately told and the research findings elucidating their past are heard worldwide.​