Digging into the Bioethics of Studying Humans, from Culture to the Genome

Interested in some pre-workshop learning?
Check out our materials and these official videos.
We'll be discussing how the Nagoya Protocol relates to us.

Digging into the Bioethics of Studying Humans, from Culture to the Genome

Topic: Anthropology, ethnobiology and paleobiology

Date: December 13, 2021

Time: 1:30 – 3:30 PM EST or 6:30 – 8:30 PM UTC (This program will be recorded)

Location: Online via Zoom

As ancestral and modern humans moved around the planet, a multitude of cultures developed as we continued to evolve and undergo natural selection in different environments. Studying humans in all our complexity and diversity – from our cultures and adaptations to our DNA – advances scientific knowledge in ways that will allow us to cope with life on a changing planet. How do scientists studying humans, human ancestors, and primates plan and conduct their research? What ethical practices and standards are there in anthropology, archaeology, primatology, paleoanthropology, biological anthropology, and human genomics that can inspire us all to be better scientists regardless of the species or subject we study? How do these fields relate to the Nagoya Protocol, and how might the Nagoya Protocol influence our research practices?


Hosted by:

– American Anthropological Association

– American Society of Primatologists

Meet the Speakers


Rebecca Adler Miserendino

Lewis-Burke Associates

Dr. Rebecca Adler Miserendino is a public health and environmental scientist with over a decade of professional experience in both academic research and international policy. As the leader of both the environment and international teams at Lewis-Burke, Rebecca advises scientific society and university clients to: (1) understand the impact of international policy issues on scientific research; (2) identify international and domestic budget and policy trends; (3) develop strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities relevant to both scientific research and sustainable development. In this role, she has been active member of the USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group on behalf of her clients. From 2013 to 2020, Rebecca served as a Senior Adviser, Foreign Affairs Officer, and Physical Scientist at the U.S. Department of State (DOS) in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. In this capacity, she negotiated on behalf of the United States and advised senior U.S. officials on a variety of crosscutting matters to advance U.S. global environment, climate, and health priorities.


Agustín Fuentes, PhD

Department of Anthropology, Princeton University, USA

Agustín Fuentes, a Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, focuses on the biosocial, delving into the entanglement of biological systems with the social and cultural lives of humans, our ancestors, and a few of the other animals with whom humanity shares close relations. From chasing monkeys in jungles and cities, to exploring the lives of our evolutionary ancestors, to examining health, behavior, and diversity across the globe, Professor Fuentes is interested in both the big questions and the small details of what makes humans and our close relations tick. Earning his BA/BS in Anthropology and Zoology and his MA and PhD in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, he has conducted research across four continents, multiple species, and two-million years of human history. His current projects include foci on human evolution, multispecies anthropologies, evolutionary theory and processes, and theory and practice in uses of genetic data.


Cheryl Makarewicz, PhD

Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany

Cheryl Makarewicz is Professor of Zooarchaeology and Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry at Kiel University, Germany. Her research investigates the transition from hunting-gathering to food production, ancient animal husbandry practices, and human-animal interactions in the Near East and the Eurasian steppe through integrated multi-stable isotopic, proteomic, and genomic analyses of calcified tissues and residues deposited on ceramics. She also directs several archaeological excavations in Jordan, including research at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites of el-Hemmeh, Sharara, and Beidha. She is currently leading the ERC funded project ‘ASIAPAST,’ which explores the spread of mobile pastoralism across the ancient Eurasian steppe and how this process altered human diets, changed the ways people moved across landscapes, and generated entirely new forms of socio-political organization.


Karen Miga, PhD

UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Karen Miga is currently the UCSC Director of the Human Pangenome Reference Consortium (HPRC). This NHGRI funded initiative is designed to release a human pangenome reference, constructed from more than 350 individuals representing highly diverse ethnic backgrounds, to serve as the foundation for future biomedical and genomic medicine research. This effort falls in step with the legacy of the Human Genome Project in terms of once again relying on a big-science international production that requires working groups of multidisciplinary experts, including leading computational biologists, genomic technologists, population geneticists, and ethicists who can guide the project's approach to community engagement and sampling. Dr. Miga currently works to establish an international Human Pangenome Project. This work is aligned with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), which is a policy-framing and technical standards-setting organization, seeking to enable responsible genomic data sharing within a human rights framework..

View the recording of the workshop.​​

** Please note the closed captioning and transcription were computer generated. There may be some discrepancies..

We are excited to hear about your ideas, concerns and suggestions on this forum and believe that this discussion will help us inform our objective of equitable and sustainable data sharing practices.


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