George Perry receives NSF CAREER Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- George Perry, Penn State assistant professor of anthropology and biology, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The prestigious award supports junior faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching, research and the integration of education and research to advance the mission of their organization. Support is given in the form of a five-year research grant.

Perry was awarded a $465,123 grant for his proposal, “An Integrative Genomic and Biodemographic Analysis of Prehistoric Human-Environment Interactions in an Island Ecosystem, with Bioinformatics Capacity Development.” The project will use new biological and computer science methods to study recent changes in the population sizes of humans, domesticated agricultural species and endangered native animals all living in the same habitat. Perry and his team will initially apply these new methods to conduct a study of the people, the cattle and two endangered lemur species living in Madagascar, which is an ideal site because humans first arrived on the island relatively recently (several thousand years ago).

Perry says he hopes the study will help scientists better understand how human population growth affects natural populations of wild species, while exploring the complex interactions among people, domesticated animals and the environment.

Perry received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Arizona State University and completed postdoctoral work in human genetics at the University of Chicago. A member of the Penn State faculty since 2011, Perry is principal investigator/director of the Anthropological Genomics Laboratory.

Perry’s research focuses primarily on human and non-human primate evolutionary ecology, and how humans have adapted to their changing environments. The primary research tools used by his group often include analyses of genomic-scale data, especially genome sequence data. In addition to Madagascar, Perry conducts fieldwork in Uganda and Peru.

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Last Updated July 28, 2017