Member Achievement: Maanasa Raghavan

This week’s Member Achievement features COSAS member Maanasa Raghavan, Assistant Professor of Human Genetics. The new pre-print of Dr. Raghavan’s article “Integrating Genetic and Oral Histories of Southwest Indian Populations” is soon to be submitted for peer-review.

Raghavan is a human geneticist who uses genome-wide data from present-day and ancient humans and their biotic environment, especially domesticates and microbes, to investigate demographic, cultural, and environmental factors that have shaped the genetic profiles of present-day humans. In her study, Raghavan explores genetic ancestry of the Bunt, Kodava, and Nair populations– which share unique oral histories and origin narratives–as well as a group of recent immigrants to the United States with Kodava ancestry. She then draws comparisons with other neighboring Indian populations. This study represents “an attempt for community-engaged anthropological and genetic investigations in India and presents results from both sources, underscoring the need to recognize that oral and genetic histories should not be expected to overlap.”

Raghavan has also been awarded the 2022-2023 Provost’s Global Faculty Award through the Delhi Center. Alongside Dr. Niraj Rai of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow, and Professor Tiatoshi Jamir of Nagaland University, Kohima, she will co-host the Third Workshop on Integrative Research on Human Evolution and Reconstruction of the Past in India, which will be held in December 2022.