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Abigail Bigham

PhD in Anthropology
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Abigail Bigham

Dr. Abigail Bigham earned her PhD in Anthropology from Penn State in 2008. Following her graduation from Penn State, Abigail became a Senior Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics at the University of Washington before joining the faculties in Anthropology, first at the University of Michigan and then at UCLA, where she is currently an Associate Professor. Her research centers on human population genetics and molecular evolution. In particular, her research group seeks to understand human genetic adaptations to environmental pressures, such as high altitude adaptations among Indigenous communities in Peru and the Himalayas, and how these adaptations affect human phenotypic diversity. She has published her research in high-profile journals, including PLosONE, American Journal of Medical Genetics A, PLOS Genetics, and Nature Genetics. According to Abigail,

“Penn State’s Anthropology Department is a great community of scholars, and their program offers excellent training in interdisciplinary approaches to some of humanity’s most important problems. My experience at Penn State provided me with a solid foundation to build a collaborative research program, and indispensable tools for developing my career… Penn State Anthropology trained me to be both a careful and a creative scientist. The sense of community that permeated life in the Carpenter Building created a supportive and truly enjoyable graduate experience. I am grateful to all the faculty, staff, and fellow graduate students who fostered such a rich environment for personal growth and academic success. It is a part of my life that I will always cherish.”

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