Kara C. Hoover
Office: Bunnell 404
Phone: 907 474 6110
Email: kara.hoover @ alaska.edu
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 of olfactory receptor genes in modern humans? During Fall of 2014, I was 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. I am continuing this work at UAF with long-term goals that to engage in field-based research combining genetic, perceptual, and linguistic data. I am also working with published ancient genome data to expand our understanding of temporal variation in olfaction within the human species and, more broadly, 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 was a Visiting Scientist in the Evolutoinary Genetics Department, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.