Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, will be visiting the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus October 22 and 23, and will give a talk, titled “Hunting for the molecular past: from trapping in Siberia to studies of our human history.”

The talk is a biography of sorts, beginning with the story of Willerslev’s start as a trapper in Siberia. He later becomes curious about the diversity of the indigenous groups he encounters, and eventually is motivated to embark on a study of human history by way of genomics. 

Willserslev is an evolutionary geneticist who focuses on the ancient DNA of humans, plants, and animals. He explores the connections between modern organisms and their ancient ancestors.


The event is hosted by the Alaska Quaternary Center, a unit of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Nancy Bigelow, AQC director, said that Willerslev’s work has gone a long way in building credible historic insight.  This is because scientists analyze actual DNA extracted from ancient bones.  


“Ancient DNA, as a field of study, gives you a snapshot of what was actually there in the past, and you can connect it with what you already know,” said Bigelow. “All techniques have weaknesses, so if you can get another tool in the toolbox, so to speak, to tell you what was going on in the past, it strengthens the case.”

The talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. It will be held in the Schaible auditorim (in the Bunnell Building on UAF campus). Admission is free, as is parking after 5 p.m.


Additional contact: Nancy Bigelow, Director, Alaska Quaternary Center  Phone: 907-474-5433


  • Occurred Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 @ 7:00 pm


Schaible Auditorium (UAF Bunnell Building)

1790 Tanana Loop
Fairbanks, AK 99775


Nancy Bigelow