Jennifer A Raff

Jennifer A. Raff
  • Associate Professor
  • ANTH Director of Graduate Studies
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences Anthropology
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008
  • Spring 2024 Office Hours: Mon. and Wed. 12:30 - 1:30pm; or by appointment - send email to

Contact Info

Office Phone:
ANTH Office Phone:
ANTH Fax #:
Fraser Hall, room 626
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


Research interests:

  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Ancient DNA
  • Human Genetic Variation
  • Population Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Molecular Biology
  • Migration
  • Prehistory of the Americas
  • Native American Genetic Diversity
  • Science Literacy

Selected Publications

Raff, Jennifer A. 2017. “Genetics: Ancient DNA Clarifies Population Histories of the Northeastern Margin of North America.” Journal Articles. Current Biology 27 (September): R1108–29.
Bolnick, Deborah A, Jennifer A Raff, Lauren C Springs, Austin W Reynolds, and Aida Miro-Herrans. 2016. “Native American Genomics and Population Histories.” Journal Articles. Annual Review of Anthropology 45 (September): 319–40.
Raff, Jennifer. 2016. Handbook on Science Literacy. Books. Kendall Hunt.
Raff, Jennifer. 2016. “Genome of the Ancient One (a.k.a. Kennewick Man).” Journal Articles. Human Biology 87 (2): 132–33.
Reynolds, A. W., J. A. Raff, D. C. Cook, F. A. Kaestle, and D. A. Bolnick. 2015. “Ancient DNA from the Schild Site in Illinois: Implications for the Mississippian Transition in the Lower Illinois River Valley.” Journal Articles. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156 (3): 434–48. http://10.1002/ajpa.22668.
Raff, Jennifer A. 2015. “Anthropological Genetics and Social Media Outreach.” Journal Articles. American Anthropologist.
Raff, Jennifer A, and Deborah Bolnick. 2015. “Does Mitochondrial Haplogroup X Indicate  Ancient Trans-Atlantic Migration to the Americas? A Critical Re-Evaluation.” Journal Articles. PaleoAmerica 1 (4): 297–304.
Raff, J. A., M. R. Rzhetskaya, J. C. Tackney, and M. G. Hayes. 2015. “Mitochondrial Diversity of Iñupiat Peoples from the Alaskan North Slope Provides Evidence for the Origins of the Paleo- and Neo- Eskimo Peoples.” Journal Articles. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157 (4): 603–14.
Tackney, Justin C, Ben A Potter, Jennifer A Raff, Michael Powers, W. Scott Watkins, Derek Warner, Joshua D Reuther, Joel D Irish, and Dennis H. O’Rourke. 2015. “Two Contemporaneous Mitogenomes from Terminal Pleistocene Burials in Eastern Beringia.” Journal Articles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112 (45): 13833–13838.
Raff, J. A. 2014. “Addressing a Diversity Problem in Human Genetics.” Web Publishing (article, blog, etc.). Huffington Post Science Blog.
Raff, J. A. 2014. “How to Read and Understand a Scientific Article. A Step-by-Step Guide for Nonscientists.” Web Publishing (article, blog, etc.). Huffington Post Science Blog.
Raff, J. A. 2014. “Nicholas Wade and Race: Building a Scientific Façade.” Web Publishing (article, blog, etc.). Scientific Literacy Blog Www.Violentmetaphors.Com.
Li, J., D. Quinque, M. Li, H. Horz, M. R. Rzhetskaya, J. Raff, M. G. Hayes, and M. Stoneking. 2014. “Comparative Analysis of the Human Saliva Microbiome from Different Climate Zones: Alaska, Germany, and Africa.” Journal Articles. PLOS Computational Biology.
Raff, J. A. 2014. “Review of Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance.’” Book Reviews. Human Biology.
Powell, M. L., D. C. Cook, M. M. Langley, S. D. Spencer, J. A. Raff, and F. A. Kaestle. 2012. “The ‘African Queen’, A Portuguese Mystery.” Book Chapters. In The Bioarchaeology of Individuals: Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Past: Local, Regional, and Global, edited by Ann Lucy Stodder and Ann M. Palkovich. University Press of Florida.
Raff, J. A., D. A. Bolnick, J. C. Tackney, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2011. “Ancient DNA Perspectives on American Colonization and Population History.” Journal Articles. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 146: 503–14.
Meier, R. J., and J. A. Raff. 2010. “Genetics in Human Biology.” Book Chapters. In Human Evolutionary Biology, edited by Michael P. Muehinbein. Cambridge University Press.
Raff, J. A., J. C. Tackney, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2010. “South from Alaska: A Pilot ADNA Study of Genetic History on the Alaskan Peninsula and Eastern Aleutians.” Journal Articles. Human Biology 82 (5–6): 677–93.
O’Rourke, D. H., and J. A. Raff. 2010. “The Final Frontier: Genetic Perspectives on American Colonization.” Journal Articles. Current Biology 20: R202–7.
Raff, J. A., D. C. Cook, and F. A. Kaestle. 2006. “Tuberculosis in the New World: A Study of Ribs from the Schild Mississippian Population, West-Central Illinois.” Journal Articles. Memórias Do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz Rio de Janeiro 101(Suppl. II): 25–27.

Selected Presentations

Raff, J. A. (5/1/2017). Demography and Migration History of the Aleut Peoples. Center for Migration Research. Lawrence
Raff, J. A. (5/13/2017). Genetics and origin myths about the First Inhabitants of the Americas. 'Fake News' from the Past: Archaeological Mysteries and the Psychology of Deception. Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, Coshocton, OH
Raff, J. A., Tackney, J., Rzhetskaya, M., Hayes, M. G., & O'Rourke, D. H. (3/31/2017). New perspectives on Arctic prehistory from ancient and contemporary genetics. 44th Annual Meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association. Fairbanks AK
Raff, J. A., & O'Rourke, D. H. (12/31/2017). Genetic History of the Aleutian (Unangan) Region Project. APIA Board Meeting 2017. Anchorage, AK
Raff, J. A. (11/12/2016). The misuse of genetics in pseudoscience. Skepticon. Springfield MO
Raff, J. A. (9/6/2016). The increasing complexity of the final frontier: What genetics tells us about the initial peopling of the Americas. Evolution, Ecology and Behavior seminar, University of Kansas. Lawrence
Raff, J. (3/25/2016 - 3/25/2016). The history of genetics. NASA ISS Science Friday. Johnson Space Center, Houston TX
Raff, J. (2/16/2016 - 2/16/2016). A lot of smoke, but no fire: A history of the antivaccine movement. KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum Science on Tap. Lawrence, KS
Raff, J. A. (12/3/2015). A genetic perspective on the prehistory of the Americas. University of Missouri
Raff, J. A., Miro-Herrans, A., Jensen, A., Rzhetskaya, M., Armstrong, L., Hayes, M. G., ...Bolnick, D. (3/27/2015). Reconstructing the effects of European contact on North Slope Inupiat Populations through genetic archaeological and ethnohistoric research. American Association of Physical Anthropologists Annual Meeting
Raff, J. A. (12/31/2014). Ancient DNA research methods and ethics. Summer Internship for Native Americans in Genomics, University of Texas at Austin
Raff, J. A. (12/31/2014). Ancient molecules and migrations: Understanding the origins of the earliest Americans. The Summer Science Program, New Mexico Institute of Technology

Awards & Honors

Named one of “8 Awesome Anthropologists Advancing Public Outreach”

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Identifying Genomic Signatures of Evolutionary and Cultural Change in Protohistoric Native Americans from the Ohio River Valley. National Science Foundation. $285845.00. Submitted 11/1/2014 (5/15/2015). Federal. Status: Funded. Research is being conducted at facilities at the University of Texas
Testing alternative models of Native American migration history with ancient DNA. KU Center for Migration Research Institute for Policy and Social Researc. $4900.00. (5/1/2016). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded