Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

What Can Genomics Teach Us About Jewish History with Dr. Shamam Waldman

April 9 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm  |  Cowell Ranch Hay Barn


This year’s Helen Diller Distinguished Lecture in Jewish Studies will be given by Dr. Shamam Waldman.

Join us on April 9th at Cowell Ranch Hay Barn for Dr. Waldman’s lecture titled:
“What Can Genomics Teach Us About Jewish History?”


Doors will open at 5:30PM. The talk will begin promptly at 6:00PM.

The study of population genetics, and specifically ancient DNA, can now offer new insights into Jewish history. One profound example is in our understanding of the origins and early history of Ashkenazi Jews. Scholars in a variety of disciplines have, for years, debated the topic, proposing different theories. Recent genetic analysis and research is helping to shed light on this long-standing puzzle. Another example of how population genetics can offer new insights concerns the genetic connections between the Bronze – Age Levant and present-day Jewish and Middle Eastern populations.

In this talk Dr. Shamam Waldman will share her perspective on these questions and the implications of new research based on ancient DNA. Dr. Waldman will present findings from two recent articles in Cell that she co- led: one analyzing DNA from 14th century Jews in Erfurt Germany which showed that the medieval Ashkenazi Jewish population was much more heterogeneous than the one today, and the other on the genomic history of the people of the Bronze-Age Southern Levant which showed migrations from the Caucasus and Iran into this region between about 2500-1000 CE.

Presented by the Center for Jewish Studies. Co-sponsored by The Humanities Institute and the Genomics Institute at UC Santa Cruz. This event is made possible by generous support from the Helen Diller Family Endowment and the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

Shamam WaldmanShamam Waldman completed her PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the field of population genetics, and she is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Reich Lab at Harvard University. Dr. Waldman developed computational and statistical methods to analyze ancient DNA. She used these methods to study the genetic connections between Canaanites and present-day Middle Eastern populations, as well as the genetic origins of Ashkenazi Jews. As a postdoctoral researcher she continues to study ancient DNA of Jews in Europe during the Middle Ages as well as hunter-gatherers from the Mesolithic period.


April 9
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Cowell Ranch Hay Barn
Ranch View Rd
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website