Meet Invited Speaker Dr Zandra Fagernäs
We are pleased to introduce Dr Zandra Fagernäs, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History Department of Archaeogenetics, FEMS Grants alumnus and one of the speakers at the FEMS Online Conference on Microbiology 2020
Session 8: FEMS session & short presentations by grantees, 31 October 16.30 – 17.50
Presentation: Biogeography of the ancient oral cavity
Tell us about your current area of research: what attracted you to this area?
I currently work with genetic and proteomic studies of archaeological dental calculus. I was attracted to this research field since it is very new and exciting, there are so many unanswered questions and we have only just begun to explore the potential of studying ancient microbiomes!
A microbiologist rarely is a microbiologist ‘pur sang’, many crossovers and interdisciplinary working methods exist.
What other disciplines do you feel connected to? Why?
Since I study archaeological substrates, I work in very close contact with archaeologists. Without them, we cannot interpret any patterns or interesting findings in the context of human history!
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing microbiologists today?
A challenge we continuously face when working with archaeological materials, is making sure that we are using our samples responsibly. Archaeological materials are after all a finite substrate, and analyses can be quite destructive.
What do you think FEMS and microbiology societies can do to help tackling these challenges?
I think close collaborations between researchers studying ancient and modern microbes will be very useful for bringing the field forward, in many different aspects.