Theodore Schurr

Professor of Anthropology; Graduate Group Chair

Office: Penn Museum, Room 432

Lab: Penn Museum, Room 421

Lab Website:  Under Revision


I am a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, a Consulting Curator in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, and the Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

For the past thirty years, I have investigated the genetic prehistory of Asia and the Americas through studies of mtDNA, Y-chromosome and autosomal DNA variationin Asian, Siberian and Native American populations. Our current projects include studies of genetic diversity in indigenous populations of Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. My research group is also exploring the population history of Georgia (Caucasus), Pakistan and Kazakhstan through our collaborative genetic studies in those countries. Other projects are investigating mitochondrial diseases in human populations as well as the role of the mtDNA in complex diseases, metabolism and adaptation.



B.S. University of Georgia, 1983; M.A. Emory University, 1996; Ph.D. Emory University 1998

Office Hours

By appointment

Research Interests

Subject areas: Human evolutionary genetics, mitochondrial biology and disease, biomedical genetics, ancient DNA, primate genetics; Geographic areas: Africa, Americas, Australia, Georgia (Caucasus), Melanesia, Siberia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Turkey

Selected Publications


Weber AW, Katzenberg MA, Schurr TG, editors. 2010. Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia: Bioarchaeological Studies of Past Lifeways. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.



Gómez R, Schurr TG, Meraz-Ríos MA. 2021. Diversity of Mexican paternal lineages reflects evidence of 500 years of admixture. In: Muñoz Moreno ML, Crawford MH, editors. Human Migration: Biocultural Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schurr TG. 2019. Where tides of genes perpetual ebb and flow: What DNA evidence tells us about the peopling of the Americas. In: Suarez R, Ardelean C, editors. People and Culture in Ice Age Americas: New Directions in Paleoamerican Archeology. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, pp. 220-243.

Schurr TG, Benn Torres J, Vilar MG, Gaieski JB, Melendez C. 2016. An emerging history of indigenous Caribbean and circum-Caribbean populations: Insights from archeological, ethnographic, genetic and historical studies. In: Zuckerman M, Martin DL, editors. New Directions in Biological Anthropology:Papers Honoring the Legacy of George Armelagos. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 385-402.



Friedrich VK, Rubel M, Schurr TG. 2021. The role of mitochondrial genetic variation in human bioenergetics, adaptation, and adult disease. Am J Hum Biol First published: 19 June 2021

Schurr TG. 2020. Host genetic factors and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Am J Hun Biol 32:e23497.

Totaro ME, Gili JA, Liotta DJ, Schurr TG, Picconi MA, Badano I. Genetic variation in the E6 and E7genes of human papillomavirus type 16 in northeasternArgentina.J Med Virol. 2022;94:745‐751.

Kristjansson D, Bohlin J, Astanand J, Schurr TG. 2021. Matrilineal diversity and population history of Norwegians. Am J Phys Anthropol 176(1): 120–133.

Kornienko IV, Faleeva TG, Schurr TG, Aramova OY, Ochir-Goyaeva MA, Batieva EF, Vdovchenkov EV, Moshkov NE, Kukanova VV, Ivanov IN, Sidorenko YS, Tatarinova TV. 2021. Y-chromosome haplogroup diversity in Khazar burials from southern Russia. Russ J Genet 57: 477-488.

Gómez MR, Vilar MG, Meraz MA, Figueroa-Corona P, Véliz D, Zúniga G, Hernández EA, Figueroa-Corona P, Owings AC, Gaieski JB, Schurr TG, The Genographic Consortium. 2021. Y-chromosome diversity in Aztlan descendants and its implications for the history of Central Mexico. iScience 24: 102487.

Zimmerman KP, Schurr TG, Chen W-M, Nayak U, Mychaleckyj JC, Quet Q, Moultire LH, Divers J, Keene KL, Kamen DL, Gilkeson GS, Hunt KJ, Sprulli IJ, Fernandes JK, Aldrich MA, ReichD, Garvey WT, Langefeld CD, Sale MM, Ramos PS. 2021. Genetic landscape of Gullah African Americans. Am J Phys Anthropol 174(4): 905-919.

Ochir-Goryaeva MA, Kornienko IV, Faleeva TG, Aramova OY, Makhotkin MA, Kekeev EA, Burataev EG, Kukanova VV, Sidorenko YS, Chartier DR, Schurr TG, Tatarinova TV. 2021. Ancestry and identity in Catacomb culture burials: A meta-tale of graves, skeletons, and DNA. J Archeol Sci: Reports 7: 102894..

Fleskes RE, Ofunniyin AA, Gilmore J, Poplin E, Abel S, Juarez C, Bueschgen W, Butler N, Mishoe G, Oubré L, Cabana G, Schurr TG. 2021. Bioarcheological and genetic analysis of Anson Street burials and the legacy of slavery in Charleston, SC. Am J Phys Anthropol 175(1): 3-24.

Zubair M, Habib A, Hemphill BE, Schurr TG, Tariq M. 2020.Mitochondrial genetic diversity of the Khattak and Kheshgi tribes of Peshawar Valley, Pakistan. Genetica

Paulino-Ramirez R, Oakley E, Vega B, Vilar MG, Mencia-Ripley A, Tapia L, Guerrero-Martinez S, Benitez A, Schurr TG. 2019. Diversidad genética en ADN mitocondrial en la República Dominicana: Implicaciones para la historia y demografía de la Española. Clío: Journal of the Domincan Academy of History 88(197): 193-206.

Sanabria DJ, Mojsiejczuk LN, Torres C, Meyer AG, Mbayed VA, Liotta DJ, Campos RH, Schurr TG, Badano I. 2019. Genetic diversity of the JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) genetic diversity and mitochondrial DNA ancestry in Misiones, Argentina. Infect Genet Evol

Fleskes RE, Bruwelheide KS, West FL, Owsley DW, Griffiths DR, Barc KG, Cabana GS, Schurr TG. 2019. Ancient DNA and bioarcheological perspectives on European and African diversity and relationships on the colonial Delaware frontier. Am J Phys Anthropol 170(2): 232-245.

Benn Torres J, Martucci V, Aldrich MC, Vilar MG, MacKinney T, Tariq M, Gaieski JB, Bharath Hernandez R, Browne ZE, Stevenson M, Walters W, Schurr TG, The Genographic Consortium. 2019. Analysis of biogeographic ancestry reveals complex genetic histories for indigenous communities of St. Vincent and Trinidad. Am J Phys Anthropol 169(3): 482-497 DOI:10.1002/ajpa.23859.


Please contact me by email ( to request a copy of any of these publications.


Courses Taught

ANTH 003: Introduction to Human Evolution

ANTH 104: Sex and Human Nature

ANTH 106: Anthropological Genetics

ANTH 143: Explorations in Human Biology

ANTH 244: Disease and Human Evolution

ANTH 246: Molecular Anthropology

ANTH 249: Evolutionary Medicine

ANTH 300: Research Seminar

ANTH 336: The Peopling of the Americas

ANTH 602: Evolutionary Anthropology

ANTH 695: Current Topics in Molecular Anthropology



Anthropology Department Faculty; Department of Biology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania; Associate Member, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania; Member, CHOP Mitochondrial Research Affinity Group, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Research Associate, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania; Member, International Center for Clinical Genetics, Kharkiv, Ukraine; Consortium Faculty, Penn Genomic Frontiers Institute; Consulting Curator, American and Physical Anthropology Sections, Penn Museum; Consortium Faculty, African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania



Faculty Status