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Portrait of Mark Stoneking, external member of the SAB

 
Who are you and what is your background?

My name is Mark Stoneking. I am an American by birth, but for the past 20 years I have been living and working in Germany. My university degree is in anthropology and my PhD is in genetics, and my research combines aspects of both: I lead the Group in Population History at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where we use molecular genetic data and analyses to address questions of anthropological interest about human origins, migrations, and population relationships.

What is your area of expertise and how do you contribute to the Scientific Advisory Board of IDEXLYON? 

My scientific expertise is in human evolutionary genetics, but for the SAB I think my background as a foreign researcher at a German institute is more important. In order to cast the net as widely as possible in pursuit of scientific excellence, it is vital for IDEXLYON to attract foreign researchers and students. I thus bring to the SAB not only my own experience in terms of what it takes to attract international researchers and students, but also that of my institute, which strives to attract the best-qualified researchers and students from around the world.


In your opinion, what is the added value that the SAB can bring to the IDEXLYON project?

Excellence is something that is easy to define but hard to achieve (and maintain) in this increasingly competitive and global environment. While IDEXLYON has very able leadership, my hope would be that the SAB would complement the leadership by providing a variety of experienced voices, ideas, and opinions as to how best to attain the goals of IDEXLYON.

What do you think about the IDEXLYON project? Would you have a message for all the stakeholders involved in the IDEXLYON project (researchers, faculty members, students,...)?

I find IDEXLYON to be a very exciting and interesting project, which is what attracted me to the SAB. I realize there is some criticism of the project as elitist in nature, but I would respond that by striving to attain the very highest levels possible in research and education, IDEXLYON will enhance opportunities and be beneficial for all stakeholders, not just those at the very top.