Kara C. Hoover
Office: Bunnell 404
Phone: 907 474 6110
Email: kara.hoover @ alaska.edu
Fall 2014: I am currently at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig Germany working in the Evolutionary Genetics Department on a project focused on global variation in olfactory receptor genes with known phenotypes linked to food. This project encompasess a large set of olfactory receptor genes and focuses specifically on the forces of evolution shaping diversity in those genes. Previous work has indicated selection acting on an olfactory receptor gene linked to a scent associated with boar meat preference.
I specialize in the environmental context for genetic variation--identifying the forces of evolution acting on humans and within human populations. Adaptation to new or changing landscapes is a powerful microevolutionary force that I have explored throughout my career, including my earlier work in applications of sustainability science to the bioarchaeological record. My current research is focused on the question: what microevolutionary factors shaped the distribution and diversity in olfactory receptor genes in modern humans? My current research focuses on large genomic datasets but long-term goals are to engage in field-based research that combines genetic, perceptual, and linguistic data. The increasing number of ancient genomes currently being sequenced will hopefully enable me to expand our understanding of temporal variation within the human species and also to our closer hominins.
At UAF, I run the molecular anthropology lab which is equipped with standard PCR and real-time quantitative PCR. I also maintain a dedicated ancient DNA preparation lab which is PCR-free and equipped with biosafety cabinets.
I am affiliate faculty in the Molecular Chemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty and a Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainable Environments and Cultures. I am currently a Visiting Scientist in the Evolutoinary Genetics Department, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.