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2013 Organizers and Participants

Jessi Bardill (Cherokee)

Jessi is transitioning to a tenure-track position at East Carolina University. Jessi earned her Ph.D. in 2011 from the Department of English, Duke University. Her dissertation project explores how narratives of blood that creates identity influences legislation, science and belonging, particularly in the forms of blood quantum requirements and DNA testing. She was a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in American Indian Studies at UIUC in 2011-2012, a Lecturer at Stanford University in 2012-2013, and affiliated with the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics and Duke University’s Genome, Ethics, Law, and Policy Program. Her current research examines Native American literature, genetic testing, and queer kinship.

Deborah Bolnick

Deborah is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research uses DNA from ancient and contemporary Native American populations to reconstruct population history in the Americas. Deborah is also interested in genetic ancestry testing and how it influences (and is influenced by) American understandings of race, ethnicity, and identity. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis.

Mike DeGiorgio

Mike is transitioning to be an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Pennsylvania State University. He is currently a NSF postdoctoral research fellow working with Rasmus Nielsen at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed is Ph.D. in Bioinformatics with Noah Rosenberg at the University of Michigan. His research interests include human evolutionary genetics, theoretical population genetics, and mathematical phylogenetics.

Francine C. Gachupin (Jemez Pueblo)

Francine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, at the University of Arizona. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the genetic variation of Athabascan speaking populations in the American Southwest. Francine received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. Francine also has a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington.

Brian M. Kemp

Brian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University. His research is focused on the analysis of mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal DNA variation in extant and prehistoric populations to address questions about Native American prehistory that are not approachable from culture history alone. Brian received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2006 from UC Davis.

Ripan S. Malhi

Ripan is an Associate Professor in Anthropology, Animal Biology and Institute for Genomic Biology at UIUC. His research interests include using DNA analysis to infer the evolutionary history of Native Americans. Prior to his position at UIUC, he co-founded and served as the CEO of Trace Genetics, Inc., a biotechnology company located in the greater San Francisco area. Ripan received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Davis.

Kari B. Schroeder

Kari received her PhD in Anthropology from UC Davis, where she used genetic variation to test hypotheses about population structure and population history in Native America. Since then, she has focused on human behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Her interest is in how humans adapt to rapid changes in the norms and institutions that govern cooperation. To do this, she primarily uses economic games, surveys, and genetics. Kari is currently transitioning between an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Newcastle University, England, and a postdoctoral position in the Psychology Department at Boston University.

Jamie Singson

Jamie is the Director of the Native American House at UIUC. The Native American House works toward one goal – to help students have a rewarding educational experience at the University of Illinois. In a supportive environment, Native students from a variety of backgrounds learn to make meaning of their cultural and academic experiences through student-centered leadership

Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Dakota)

Kim is an Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at UC Berkeley. She studies the ways in which genomics is co-constituted with ideas of race and indigeneity. She also studies the role of science and technology in U.S. tribal governance. She recently published a book, Native American DNA: Origins, Ethics, and Governance, with the University of Minnesota Press.

Robert Warrior (Osage)

Robert is Director of American Indian Studies at UIUC, where he is a professor of American Indian Studies, English and History. He is the author of The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction, American Indian Literary Nationalism. Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee and Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. He is the founding president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Carl Yeoman

Carl is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University. His research explores gut microbial profiles from humans, primates and agriculturally important species and identifies interactions of gut and urogenital bacteria with host health and development.


Alyssa Bader (Tsimshian)

Alyssa is currently pursuing a Master’s in Biological Anthropology at Southern Illinois University. Her current research in bioarchaeology focuses on the relationship between health and status in the prehistoric Peruvian culture of Sicán. She received her B.A. in Anthropology, with a minor in Geology from Whitman College.

Angie Avila (Muwekma Ohlone)

Angie is a third year undergraduate student at Sierra College, with plans on transferring to UC Davis within the next year. Her goals are to obtain her B.S. in Biological Science, attend medical school and to one day become an Anesthesiologist.

Marcus Briggs-Cloud (Maskoke)

Marcus is an Indigenous language advocate, musician and a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary Ecology intersecting environmental sustainability, gender and sexuality theory, and decolonization paradigms. He holds a master's degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor's degree in Native Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

Brian Holguin (Chumash)

Brian received his B.A. in physical anthropology from UCSB with a focus in osteology has experience in researching fracture characteristics present in skulls. Brian has worked at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History as a curatorial assistant. Brian Plans to attend graduate school for forensic anthropology in fall of 2014.

Melissa Johnson (Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin)

Melissa is currently pursuing a Master’s in Tree Biotechnology from Purdue University. Previously she received her B.S. in Agriculture/Tropical Horticulture from University of Hawaii at Hilo. Presently, her research project is focused on the genetic transformation of green ash for resistance to emerald ash borer.

Jessica Kolopenuk (Nehiyaw (Cree))

Jessica will begin her PhD studies in Political Science at the University of Victoria in September 2013. Her Master's research examined the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision in McIvor v. Canada. Analyzing the relational struggles, limitations, and authority the courts engender when constructions of ‘Indian' juridical recognition are challenged, she demonstrated how the case reproduced the categories of ‘sex’ and ‘race’ and discriminated on these bases while upholding Canada's self-claimed authority to name Indigenous peoples.

Meghan Mullins (Cherokee)

Meghan received her B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. She spent two years with an NIH lab in Phoenix, AZ, studying the genetics of diabetes and obesity in the Pima community. She is currently a Research Assistant studying cancer and Parkinson’s disease at 23andMe, a personal genetics company. Meghan hopes to pursue a J.D. with a Ph.D. in genetics and work in genetic policy.

Kyle Nakatsuka (Native Hawaiian)

Kyle is a rising junior at Southern Methodist University majoring in Biology and Applied Scientific Computation. Kyle has worked in several molecular biology labs and is interested in the ways the genomics and epigenomics can better help Native peoples to understand their past and present. In addition, Kyle has conducted social science research ranging from sovereignty in the context of federal recognition to community organizing in colonized communities, and hopes to use his scientific background to address the multifaceted issues faced by the Native Hawaiian community.

Riley Rice (Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe)

Riley is a third year undergraduate student at Yale University majoring in Anthropology with a focus on Biological Anthropology. Riley is interested in research involving endocrinology and human evolution and intends to pursue both in graduate school.

Ana Sylestine (Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana)

Ana received her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston-Downtown. She is currently working on a language revitalization project and a DNA project for the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.

Glen Villa Jr. (Miwok)

Glen is a member of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians. He received his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from California State University Sacramento. Glen has extensive knowledge on Miwok history, culture and genealogies. He participated in former mitochondrial DNA analyses and is interested in learning more about how the aboriginal Miwok marriage system affects the DNA.

Joseph M. Yracheta (P'urhépecha and Raramuri)

Joseph has a Master's degree in Pharmaceutics from the University of Washington. He specializes in Pharmacogenomics with an emphasis on American Indian and Latin Indigenous Public Health and Bioethics of research in Indigenous communities. He taught STEM courses at various reservation high schools in South Dakota. He graduated from Loyola University-Chicago in 1993 with a B.S. in Psychology.

Christina Zamorano (Pascua Yaqui)

Christina is a third year undergraduate student at Arizona State University majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She plans on continuing her education to pursue a Master’s degree from the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and has a career goal of entering the medical device industry.