I'm Ana Y. Morales-Arce,
a molecular anthropologist that currently works as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University, focusing on the evolution of human pathogens.

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As a molecular anthropologist I have a keen interest in population genetics applied to human evolutionary history, ancient DNA (aDNA), and human pathogens. I earned my B.Sc. and M.Sc. from TEC-Tecnológico de Costa Rica- and the University of Costa Rica (Costa Rica), respectively. I earned my PhD in Archaeology at the University of Calgary in Canada, where I studied the feasibility of conducting aDNA analysis in Central America and Mexico to address questions about ancestry and past population movements. My dissertation was funded through a Wadsworth Fellowship awarded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation of the United States. I currently work at the Center for Evolution & Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University, where I am co-advised by a computational population geneticist (Dr. Jeffrey Jensen) and a molecular anthropologist (Dr. Anne Stone). I have used population genetic modeling and approximate Bayesian statistical analyses to establish an evolutionary null model for within-host Mycobacterium tuberculosis and I am now extending these analyses to include other human pathogens, such as influenza A virus and cytomegalovirus. My research explores the relative roles of different evolutionary processes in shaping pathogen variation and evolution, including progeny skew, infection dynamics, as well as direct and linked selection effects.


2020 Morales-Arce AY, Johri P, Jensen JD. Inferring the distribution of fitness effects in DNA and RNA viruses accounting for inherent violations of WF model assumptions. In preparation for Evolution
2020 Morales-Arce AY, Sabin SJ, Stone AC, Jensen JD. The population genomics of within-host Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Heredity. In review
2020 Morales-Arce AY, Harris RB, Stone AC, Jensen JD. Evaluating the contributions of purifying selection and progeny-skew in dictating within-host Mycobacterium tuberculosis evolution. Evolution, 74-5:992-1001.
2019 Morales-Arce AY, McCafferty G, Hand J, Schmill N, McGrath K, Speller C. Ancient mitochondrial DNA and population dynamics in Postclassic Central Mexico: Cholula (A.D. 900-1350) and Tlatelolco (A.D. 1325-1521). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 11: 3459-3475.
2017 Morales-Arce AY, Hofman CA, Duggan AT, Benfer AK, Katzenberg MA, McCafferty G, Warinner C. Successful reconstruction of whole mitochondrial genomes from ancient Central America and Mexico. Scientific Reports. 7(1):18100.
2017 Morales-Arce AY, Snow MH, Kelley JH, Katzenberg MA. Ancient mitochondrial DNA and ancestry of Paquimé inhabitants, Casas Grandes (1200-1450 A.D.). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 163: 616-626.
2015 Morales-Arce AY. Ancient DNA studies in Mesoamerica: major contributions and limitations. Proceedings of the Annual Chacmool Archaeological Conference 47: 139-148.
2014 McCafferty G, Carrol G, Manion J, Morales-Arce AY, Smekal M. Huesos Nicaragua: Creación de un Laboratorio de Bio-Arqueología en la Universidad Nacional/ Bones Nicaragua: Creation of a Bio-Archaeology Laboratory in the National University. Mi Museo y Vos 29: 13-16.
2012 Morales-Arce AY, Alvarado Rojas S, Calvo Brenes M, Contreras Rojas J, Raventós Vorst. Un acercamiento al contenido cultural de los delirios de personas con esquizofrenia de Costa Rica/ Cultural content of delusions in people with schizophrenia from Costa Rica. Cuadernos de Antropología, 22.
2012 Morales-Arce AY. Lactose Intolerance in Indigenous Groups of Lower Central America. Genetic variation and its potential health problem. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken, Germany. 84p.

Courses/ teaching experience

Year University Role Topic Enrollment
2020 Arizona State University Original lectures contribution Advanced evolutionary medicine (online class) 30
2017 University of Calgary Instructor of Record Introduction to Primatology and Human Evolution 200
2014-2016 University of Calgary Teaching Assistant Graduate Head Teaching Assistant. Laboratory: Introduction to Physical Anthropology 8 labs of 22 students each
2015 University of Calgary Teaching Assistant Laboratory: Introduction to Archaeology 2 labs of 20 students each
2015 University of Calgary Teaching Assistant Archaeology & Popular Culture - Frauds, Myths & Mysteries 100
2013 University of Calgary Teaching Assistant Ethnographic Survey of Latin America 200
2012 University of Costa Rica Instructor of Record Molecular Basis of Human Phylogeny 20
2011 University of Costa Rica Instructor of Record Principles of Population Genetics 30
2011 University of Costa Rica Instructor of Record Biological Anthropology 30-40



2020 American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Los Angeles, CA, USA; talk
2019 Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE). Manchester, UK; poster
2019 The Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Disease, Carleton University, ON; talk
2019 Society for American Archaeology 84th Annual Meeting (SAA), Albuquerque, NM; talk
2017 Chacmool Conference, Calgary, AB; Session organizer and talk
2016 49th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA), Whitehorse, Yukon; talk
2016 Latin American Research Center, Graduate Student Symposium (LARC), Calgary, AB; talk
2016 Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, FL; talk
2016 6th Annual Interdisciplinary Archaeology Research Conference (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA; talk
2015 48th Chacmool Conference, Calgary, AB; talk
2015 Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, USA; talk
2015 Methods in Ecology and Evolution: Next Generation Ecology and Evolution, Calgary, AB; talk
2014 47th Chacmool Conference. Calgary, AB; talk
2014 Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX; talk
2011 Congreso Centroamericano de Antropologia, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; talk
2010 Nutrition and Health Congress. San José, Costa Rica; talk
2009 Darwin200 Celebration International Simposium, Alajuela, Costa Rica; talk


340B (JensenLab)
Center for Evolution and Medicine,
Life Sciences C,
401 East Tyler Mall,
Tempe, AZ, 85281, USA
+1 (480) 965-9944