Associate Investigator

University of Adelaide

Dr. Weyrich received a PhD in Microbiology and Bioethics from Penn State, studying how respiratory infections alter the microbiome.  In 2012, she moved to the University of Adelaide and established a research team at The Australian Centre for Ancient DNA that uses calcified dental plaque to reconstruct ancient human oral microbiomes. Her team was the first to reconstruct the microbiome of an extinct species – Neanderthals – and has reassembled the oldest microbial genome to date at 48,000 years old. Her team’s research has been featured by the BBC, NPR, Science, Nature, New Scientist, NY Times, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, and many others, and has even had a Buzz Feed quiz written about it. Her team is now reconstructing the evolutionary history of the human oral microbiome on six continents, obtaining insight into how the lifestyles and diets of our ancestors impact our health today.

An essential item in Laura’s toolkit

“A dental pick – without one I can’t remove dental plaque from ancient skeletons!”

Research Profile

Australian Centre for Ancient DNA