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The Anthropology Department has faculty members that specilize in the following fields: Archaeology, Biological, Psychological & Medical, Linguistics, and Sociocultural.  Visit a faculty member's profile to learn more about their research.

Anthropological Archaeology

Guillermo Algaze

Distinguished Professor

Guillermo Algaze, Professor, received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1986. His research interests include Near Eastern, Anatolian, and Mesopotamian archaeology, early civilizations, and complex societies. His principal archaeological work has been done in Turkey.

Geoffrey E. Braswell


Geoffrey Braswell received his doctorate from Tulane University in 1996 and is Professor of Anthropology. His research interests include settlement pattern studies, geoarchaeology, lithic production and technology, archaeometry, mathematical methods, the emergence of complex society and economic systems, and alternative models of social and political systems.

Paul S. Goldstein

Department Chair | Professor

Paul Goldstein received his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Chicago and previously held a position in the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College. His teaching and research focus on anthropological archaeology, complex societies, Latin America and Andean South America.

Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Associate Professor

Isabel Rivera-Collazo is an environmental archaeologist working on Ecological, Biological and Human Adaptations to Climate Change at the Department of Anthropology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology of University College London, specializing in human ecodynamics, landscape reconstruction, and human adaptations to climate and environmental change on islands and coastal/marine contexts. Her laboratory techniques include geoarchaeology, archaeomalacology, and marine ecology. Her research focuses on the effect that human activity has on island ecosystems through time, as well as how people responded to climatic and environmental change in the past. Taking an applied approach, she also works with local communities to understand the current and expected impacts of climate change, including threats to coastal heritage.

Biological Anthropology

Keolu Fox

Assistant Professor

Keolu Fox Ph.D., Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) is an assistant professor at University of California, San Diego, affiliated with the Department of Anthropology, the Global Health Program, the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, the Climate Action Lab, and the Indigenous Futures Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle (2016). Dr. Fox’s multi-disciplinary research interests include genome sequencing, genome engineering, computational biology, evolutionary genetics, paleogenetics, and Indigenizing biomedical research.

Maria Carolina (Carol) Marchetto

Assistant Professor 

Dr. Marchetto was a Staff Scientist at the laboratory of Genetics at The Salk Institute where she led projects that studied neuronal development using human and nonhuman primate stem cells. Her work focuses on using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to study the cellular behavior of human neurons in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Marchetto’s work is also focused on human evolution in the context of human brain expansion and neuronal development

Amy Non


Amy Non is a genetic anthropologist with an interest in the genetic and sociocultural contributors to racial and social inequalities in health. Her current research focus is to understand how social experiences can become biologically embedded to affect health throughout the life course.

Katerina Semendeferi


Semendeferi’s scientific inquiry in “what makes us human” is grounded in the comparative study of the brain. Her long-standing commitment to noninvasive approaches to study the brain, helped her pioneer new ways to gain insights into the neuroanatomy of great apes, our closest living relatives, compared to humans. More recently she begun to explore links between the phylogenetically reorganized brain regions and their implication in vulnerabilities observed in atypical human neurodevelopment.

Pascal Gagneux


Pascal Gagneux is an evolutionary biologist interested in the evolution of primate molecular diversity. He is interested in the molecular interactions between cells and organisms in the context of reproduction, development, and infection. He focuses on molecules found at the outmost layer of all vertebrate cells, sugars called sialic acids, and the proteins that specifically recognize molecular patterns at the molecular frontier of cells, the glycocalyx (sugar coat). Humans have undergone a “watershed event” in their sialic acid biology since our ancestors lost the function of an important sialic acid modifying gene over 2 million years ago. This change has numerous consequences for human biology by virtue of having altered our “molecular self”. Human innate immunity has had to adapt to this change in order to maintain efficient perception of “self” but so have countless rapidly evolving human-specific pathogens and parasites. Gagneux’s research explores how distinctly human sialic acid biology is involved in several human phenomena, ranging from fertility, innate immunity and infection, to aging and maintenance of cognitive ability. Dr. Gagneux got his MS in population biology and his PhD in Zoology (studying population genetics of west African chimpanzees) at Basel University, Switzerland. He did a Post-Doc with Dr. Ajit Varki at University of California San Diego, studying sialic acid biology and the evolution of disease susceptibility in humans and chimpanzees. From 2003 Pascal Gagneux joined Dr. Alan Dixson’s group and worked on primate reproductive biology as a research scientist at the San Diego Zoo’s Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species. In 2007 Pascal joined the faculty of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego. Since 2017 Pascal Gagneux brings his expertise in evolutionary biology, molecular primatology and glycobiology to the joint appointment in the Anthropology and the Pathology Departments at UC San Diego. 

Pascal Gagneux is the Executive Co-Director of the Center of Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) at UC San Diego. In that capacity, Dr. Gagneux also runs the Graduate Specialization in Anthropogeny, a unique transdisciplinary graduate specialization for PhD students from eight UC San Diego graduate programs including Anthropology.  

Psychological/Medical Anthropology

Thomas J. Csordas

Distinguished Professor

Thomas J. Csordas is an anthropologist whose principal interests are in medical and psychological anthropology, comparative religion, anthropological theory, cultural phenomenology and embodiment, globalization and social change, language and culture.  

Janis H. Jenkins

Distinguished Professor

Dr. Janis Hunter Jenkins is a psychological/medical anthropologist. She received her PhD from UCLA and post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. She has been Principal Investigator for research on culture and mental health among adults and children, in socioeconomically disadvantaged regions for Mexican, Salvadoran, and Puerto Rican, Latinx, Hispano, and First Nation populations in North and Central America. She leads research and intervention teams concerned with social and cultural processes that improve or exacerbate the course and outcome of illness, migrant health and sites of care in Mexico and the U.S. border region, and the central role of struggle in processes of living with conditions of mental illness and inequity as pressing matters of fundamental human rights and social justice.

Bonnie N. Kaiser (Bronwyn)

Associate Professor | Vice Chair of Graduate Studies

Bonnie Kaiser is an Associate Professor jointly appointed in the Department of Anthropology and Global Health Program. She is a qualitative and mixed-methods specialist, with training as an anthropologist (PhD), epidemiologist (MPH), and global health implementation scientist (postdoc). Her anthropology research focuses on elucidating cultural models of mental health and illness and exploring their connections to care-seeking; developing and adapting measurement tools for cross-cultural research and interventions; improving cultural adaptation of global mental health interventions; and critically exploring concepts of trauma, risk, and resilience. Her implementation science projects include research on mental health, oncofertility (fertility preservation for cancer patients), and other areas of healthcare access. Her scholarship balances critical and constructive engagement with the fields of medicine of global mental health, advancing both theory in psychological anthropology and practice in global mental health. Her research includes deep ethnographic engagement in her primary field site of Haiti and mixed-methods and multi-sited research in other global regions, including in Kenya, Nepal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and the US.

Her major research interests are Haiti, Kenya, psychological anthropology, global mental health, implementation science, idioms of distress, and cultural adaptation

Learn more about her research trajectory and ongoing projects by listening to her interview on the Sausage of Science podcast:


Steven Parish


Steven M. Parish received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC San Diego, where he was trained in psychological anthropology. He has conducted fieldwork in Nepal and in the United States.

Saiba Varma

Associate Professor | Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies

Saiba Varma is an Associate Professor of the Psychological/Medical Anthropology subfield. She is a medical and cultural anthropologist working on questions of violence, medicine, psychiatry, and politics as they pertain to Indian-controlled Kashmir and South Asia more generally. Saiba conducts ethnographic research in Kashmir, the site of a chronic, unresolved conflict, and one of the most militarized places on earth. Her research explores how spaces of psychiatric and humanitarian care confront, but also become microcosms of, the broader politics of violence and occupation that characterize life in Kashmir.

Linguistic Anthropology

Rihan Yeh

Associate Professor

Rihan Yeh's research straddles linguistic and sociocultural anthropology. She is interested in the effects of the US-Mexico border on public life in Tijuana, Baja California.

Sociocultural Anthropology


Suzanne A. Brenner

Associate Professor

Suzanne A. Brenner, Associate Professor, received her PhD from Cornell University. She is a sociocultural anthropologist who specializes in the study of gender, sexuality, and social transformation. Her work focuses in particular on the intersections of gender, religion, and politics in Indonesia and the United States.  

Joseph Hankins

Associate Professor

In his teaching and research, Joseph Hankins examines the distribution of ethical, affective, and sensory obligation at the intersections of contemporary capitalism and political action. His first book, Working Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan, traces the circulation of rawhide from his hometown in Texas to tanneries in Japan, examining forms of political oppression and economic exploitation in that connection. He is currently working on a second book that investigates how economic disenchantment and the romanticization of nature and rural life play into de-urbanization projects in Japan and the United States. He teaches classes on racial capitalism and gender, prison abolition, liberalism and sympathy, the transnational circulation of ethical and political commitments, and relationships between the human and non-human. 

Professor Hankins is affiliate faculty and former director of Critical Gender Studies and was the recipient of the UCSD Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in AY2018-2019. He is also a founding member of the University of California Sentencing Project and helps advise UCSD Underground Scholars and UCSD Students Against Mass Incarceration. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2009.

Aftab Jassal

Assistant Professor

Aftab Jassal is an anthropologist of religion, with longstanding research experience and interest in the Himalayas, specifically, Uttarakhand, a north Indian state bordering Tibet and Nepal. His research examines varying modes and registers of interaction between person, place, and divinity in South Asia. Drawing on anthropological and performance studies approaches, he is interested in how Hindu communities construct and enliven multiple social, ontological, and aesthetic realities through narrative and ritual performance, including ritual storytelling and possession.

Dredge Kang

Assistant Professor

Dredge Byung’chu Kang received his anthropology PhD (2015) and global health MPH (2016) from Emory University. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis prior to appointment at UC San Diego. Broadly, Kang’s research focuses on race, gender, sexuality, class, and transnationalism.

David E. Pedersen

Associate Professor

David Pedersen is a historically minded anthropologist with a joint degree in both disciplines (University of Michigan, 2004). His research and teaching focus on capitalist relations during the 20th century and up to the present in the hemisphere of the Americas. His first book, American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States (Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning, University of Chicago Press, 2014) explores El Salvador and its relations with the United States as both countries have been reshaped by several decades of transnational migration and remittance circulation. Pedersen serves on the advisory board of UC San Diego’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) and is a faculty affiliate of the Ethnic Studies Program.

Pedersen is writing a new book titled Capitol Crisis: Memory, Imagination and the Breaking of Habit that examines the relationship between contemporary patterns of capitalist restructuring and historical tendencies expressed in the January 6, 2021 protest in Washington, DC. The book begins and ends at the US Capitol that day but travels throughout the country to examine changing habits of human feeling and action as these relate to memory and imagination. Pedersen serves on the executive committee of the Science Studies Program (SSP) and is an affiliate of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at UC San Diego.

Pedersen also maintains a research and community engaged learning project focused on San Diego Bay.  Together with colleagues based at Scripps Institute for Oceanography (SIO), he has been the recipient of a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that supports interdisciplinary research on ecotoxin buildup in the Bay and local seafood harvesting and consumption practices among San Diego residents. Pedersen also has received an award from the UCSD Changemaker Faculty Fellows Program to develop a new course and student internship program focused on SD Bay.  Pedersen participates in the “Climate Change and Human Solutions” undergraduate degree program and serves on the advisory board of the Program for Interdisciplinary Environmental Research at SIO.

Nancy Postero


Nancy Postero received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2001 and joined the UCSD faculty in September 2001. She was previously a criminal defense and human rights attorney and a journalist. Her work focuses broadly on the intersection between politics, economics, and race, with a focus on indigenous politics in Latin America.