On 5 December at 10.15 a.m., professor Svante Pääbo, who was elected as the foreign member of the Estonian Academia of Sciences this year, will hold a public lecture in Riia 23 (Omicum, auditorium 105).
Professor Svante Pääbo is a world class evolutionary and population geneticist.
His pioneering and interdisciplinary research started already in the 1980's while he was studying both medicine and humanities at Uppsala University. He was among the first to extract DNA from archaeological material and to develop specific laboratory protocols necessary for ancient DNA. Svante Pääbo's biography titled "Neanderthal man. In search of lost genomes" describes the development of the field of ancient DNA studies. It came out in 2014 and has, among other languages, been also translated to Estonian.
Within the field of paleogenomics or in other words ancient DNA studies Prof. Pääbo has laid the firm foundations for studying the genomes of the morphologically well-known Neanderthal and the previously uncharacterized Denisovan – relatives of modern humans that went extinct a long time ago. This has led to new understandings about the evolution of Homo sapiens as a species and even more interestingly, about admixture with archaic humans. In less than 10 years, it has become generally accepted that there were several species of humans living on Earth that were capable of producing offspring with each other. A recent publication by prof. Pääbo described the direct first-generation descendant of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan who lived 50,000 years ago (Nature, 2018).
Svante Pääbo has received numerous international scientific awards and nominations. He is the honorary or foreign member of several academies of sciences. It is appropriate to add here that his mother was Estonian. A more detailed overview of professor Pääbo's life and research can be found on Wikipedia.
Time magazine elected Svante Pääbo as one of the hundred most influential people in the world.
This in not professor Pääbo's first visit to Tartu and his research topics were and are also connected to the research conducted at our university. This entails joint articles but even more so a general influence on the rise and development of the field of studying ancient DNA and the so-called "lost genomes" in Tartu.