Kara C. Hoover
Office: Bunnell 402B
Phone: 907 474 6110
Email: kara.hoover @ alaska.edu
I'm a biological anthropologist interested in population biology and genetics. I specialize in the environmental context for human biological adaptation. 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? To answer this question, I am reconstructing a temporal pattern of variation using genetic data from modern ancient and paleo DNA. I am particularly interested in the interplay between microevolutionary forces and diet and behavior in shaping the distribution and diversity of olfactory receptor genes.
I consider myself to be a four-field anthropologist and am committed to the tradition of field work in anthropology. As such, I have conducted research in international labs studying Imperial Roman remains in Italy, prehistoric Jomon Japanese across the Japanese islands, and North American prehistoric hunter-gatherers (Florida and the Mid-Atlantic region). An outgrowth of my current research is field-based phenotype-genotype data gathering for exploring rural and urban variation in olfactory functioning and perception.
At UAF, I run the molecular anthropology lab (aDNA and modern human DNA), which I have equipped with standard PCR and real time quantitative PCR. I also maintain a dedicated aDNA 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.