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Anne Riley

Ph.D. Student


Anne Riley is a PhD student in biological anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is interested in molecular anthropology, ancient DNA,  and bioinformatics. She received her Master's degree in anthropology at UTK in 2019, with an interdisciplinary graduate minor in computational science. Her thesis investigated how the use of a prominent bleach-based decontamination protocol in archaeological samples may degrade, rather than eliminate, modern contaminant DNA. Before attending UTK, she received her Bachelor's degree in anthropology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Anne also has a regional interest in Latin America.

Anne is the manager of the UTK Molecular Anthropology Laboratories. She is a member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA), American Association of Anthropological Genetics (AAAG), Paleopathology Association (PPA), and UT's Anthropology Graduate Student Association (AGSA).


Research interests: Molecular anthropology, ancient DNA, paleopathology, bioinformatics, Latin America


M.A. Anthropology: University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 2019.

  • Thesis: "Bleach-Based Decontamination Treatment and Cytosine Deamination in Contaminant DNA"
  • Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science


B.A. Anthropology, with Highest Distinction: Indiana University, Bloomington. 2016.

  • Departmental Honors in Anthropology (Thesis: "Identifying Mycobacterium tuberculosis via Nested PCR Ancient DNA Analysis")
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Minor in Spanish
  • Minor in Geography

Awards and Recognitions

2020 University of Tennessee, Graduate Student Senate Travel Award

2016-2017 University of Tennessee, Shipley-Swann Graduate School Fellowship

2016 University of Tennessee, Graduate Student Senate Travel Award

2016 Indiana University, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Undergraduate Student Essay Contest 1st Prize

2014 Indiana University, Hutton Honors College Internship Grant

2014 Indiana University, Hutton International Experiences Program Grant



2020. "Ancient DNA Mimicry? Bleach-based Decontamination Treatment and Cytosine Deamination in Modern DNA Contaminants," poster presentation: American Association of Physical Anthropology (AAPA).

2019. Riley, Anne. "Bleach-Based Decontamination Treatment and Cytosine Deamination in Contaminant DNA." Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange (TRACE).

2016. "Tuberculosis y los Xiongnu," poster presentation: Asociación Latinoamericana de Antropología Biológica (ALAB).

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