Dr. Viviane Slon

Anatomy and Anthropology
אנטומיה ואנתרופולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר


Current position

Senior lecturer, Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

Scientific biography

I am a senior lecturer in the Departments of Anatomy and Anthropology and Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (Israel), and am affiliated with the Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research, where I am the head of the ancient DNA laboratory. My PhD and post-doctoral research on ancient hominin DNA were conducted in the Department of Evolutionary Genetics of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). I have an MSc in Medical Sciences and a BSc in Medical and Life Sciences, both from Tel Aviv University. I am the recipient of the Dan David Prize Scholarship for Young Researchers (2017), the Otto Hahn Medal (2018), the Otto Hahn Award (2018), and the Alon Fellowship (2020).

Research Interests

The ancient DNA laboratory at Tel Aviv University - Historical and Prehistorical Genetics

We study the genetic makeup of prehistoric and proto-historic populations, with a focus on the Levant – a major corridor for migrations throughout human evolution and one of the earliest centres of agriculture in the world. To do so, we implement and pursue the development of state-of-the-art methodology suited to face the challenges of DNA preservation over time in warm climates.

In our laboratory, we strive to recover DNA of ancient individuals both from skeletal remains and from sediments deposited at archaeological sites. The genetic data we obtain is analyzed by comparing it to existing datasets of ancient and present-day genomes world-wide; and contextualized by integrating it with data from other research fields, such as archaeology, physical anthropology, geology and chronometry.

The study of ancient genomes allows to elucidate relationships between populations, infer demographic histories, retrace migrations, reconstruct social structures, search for signs of local adaptation to varying environments, and investigate the effect of past events on our own genomes today.

Selected publications

For a full publications list, see https://www.slonlab.com/publications

      Vernot, B., Zavala, E.I., Gómez-Olivencia, A., Jacobs, Z., Slon, V., Mafessoni, F., Romagné, F., Pearson, A,. Petr, M., Sala, N., Pablos, A., Aranburu, A., Bermúdez de Castro, J.M., Carbonell, E., Li, B., Krajcarz, M.T., Krivoshapkin, A.I., Kolobova, K.A., Kozlikin, M.B., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Viola, B., Grote, S., Essel, E., López Herráez, D., Nagel, S., Nickel, B., Richter, J., Schmidt, A., Peter, B., Kelso, J., Roberts, R.G., Arsuaga, J.-L. and Meyer, M. (2021), Unearthing Neanderthal population history using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from cave sediments. Science (published online), eabf1667

      Zhang, D., Xia, H., Chen, F., Li, B., Slon, V., Cheng, T., Yang, R., Jacobs, Z., Dai, Q., Massilani, D., Shen, X., Wang, J., Feng, X., Cao, P., Yang, M., Yao, J., Yang, J., Madsen, D.B., Han, Y., Ping, W., Liu, F., Perreault, C., Chen, X., Meyer, M., Kelso, J., Pääbo, S. and Fu, Q. (2020), Denisovan DNA in Late Pleistocene sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave on the Tibetan Plateau. Science 370(6516): 584-587

      Mafessoni, F., Grote, S., de Filippo, C., Slon, V., Kolobova, K.A., Viola, B., Shnaider, S.V., Markin, S.V., Chintalapati, M., Peyregne, S., Skov, L., Skoglund, P., Krivoshapkin, A.I., Derevianko, A.P., Meyer, M., Kelso, J., Peter, B., Prüfer, K. and Pääbo, S. (2020), A high-coverage Neandertal genome from Chagyrskaya Cave. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(26): 15132-15136

      Peyrégne, S., Slon, V., Mafessoni, F., de Filippo, C., Hajdinjak, M., Nagel, S., Nickel, B., Essel, E., Le Cabec, A., Wehrberger, K., Conard, N.J., Kind, C.J., Posth, C., Krause, J., Abrams, G., Bonjean, D., Di Modica, K., Toussaint, M., Kelso, J., Meyer, M., Pääbo, S. and Prüfer, K. (2019), Nuclear DNA from two early Neandertals reveals 80,000 years of genetic continuity in Europe. Science Advances 5(6): eaaw5873

      Douka, K., Slon, V., Jacobs, Z., Bronk Ramsey, C., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Mafessoni, F., Kozlikin, M., Li, B., Grün, R., Comeskey, D., Devièse, T., Brown, S., Viola, B., Kinsley, L., Buckley, M., Meyer, M., Roberts, R.G., Pääbo, S., Kelso, J. and Higham, T. (2019), Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave. Nature 565: 640-644

      Slon, V.*, Mafessoni, F.*, Vernot, B.*, de Filippo, C., Grote, S., Viola, B., Hajdinjak, M., Peyrégne, S., Nagel, S., Brown, S., Douka, K., Higham, T., Kozlikin, M.B., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Kelso, J., Meyer, M., Prüfer, K. and Pääbo, S. (2018), The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father, Nature 561: 113-116

      Slon, V., Viola, B., Renaud, G., Gansauge, M.-T., Benazzi, S., Sawyer, S., Hublin, J.-J., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Kelso, J., Prüfer, K., Meyer, M. and Pääbo, S. (2017), A fourth Denisovan individual, Science Advances 3(7):  e1700186

      Slon, V., Hopfe, C., Weiß, C.L., Mafessoni, F., de la Rasilla, M., Lalueza-Fox, C., Rosas, A., Soressi, M., Knul, M.V., Miller, R., Stewart, J.R., Derevianko, A.P., Jacobs, Z., Li, B., Roberts, R.G., Shunkov, M.V., de Lumley, H., Perrenoud, C., Gušić, I., Kućan, Ž., Rudan, P., Aximu-Petri, A., Essel, E., Nagel, S., Nickel, B., Schmidt, A., Prüfer, K., Kelso, J., Burbano, H.A., Pääbo, S. and Meyer. M. (2017), Neandertal and Denisovan DNA from Pleistocene sediments, Science 356(6338): 605-608

      Slon, V., Glocke, I., Barkai, R., Gopher, A., Hershkovitz, I. and Meyer, M. (2016), Mammalian mitochondrial capture, a tool for rapid screening of DNA preservation in faunal and undiagnostic remains, and its application to Middle Pleistocene specimens from Qesem Cave (Israel), Quaternary International 398: 210-218

      Benazzi, S., Slon, V., Talamo, S., Negrino, F., Peresani, M., Bailey, S.E., Sawyer, S., Panetta, D., Vicino, G., Starnini, E., Mannino, M.A., Salvadori, P.A., Meyer, M., Pääbo, S. and Hublin, J.J. (2015), The makers of the Protoaurignacian and implications for Neandertal extinction, Science 348(6236): 793-796

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