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Carter Clinton_20211201_0071_credit Mark Thiessen-National Geographic.JPG


Genetic Anthropologist

Asking questions about the past to unlock the keys to the future



Dr. Carter Clinton is a postdoctoral scholar at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a recent graduate and Assistant Curator of the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory at Howard University, located in Washington, DC.


Carter's dissertation research explored the New York African Burial Ground (NYABG), the oldest and largest burial site of free and enslaved Africans ever discovered in North America used during the 17th and 18th centuries in lower Manhattan. This project illuminates the lifestyles of the New York African Burial Ground population in two phases: 1.) an elemental analysis identifying all trace metals in each burial soil sample and 2.) a bacterial analysis where we've reconstructed the bacterial community of each burial sample detecting unique human microbiome signatures for each inhabitant and infectious disease pathogen that may have been responsible for their deaths.

***This research is ongoing.

I am currently working on several projects: 1.) an admixture mapping analysis of African Americans to uncover the diversity within the African contribution 2.) an evolutionary medicine analysis exploring complex diseases in African Americans 3.) microbiome (human microbiome profile and infectious disease pathogen) research on the New York African Burial Ground grave soil samples 4.) human aDNA analysis of New York African Burial Ground inhabitants 5.) application of my unique non-destructive protocol to African American burial sites in Philadelphia, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Current Research



National Geographic Society: Virtual Field Trip

National Geographic Society: Soil Secrets

NIH - NHGRI: Louise M. Slaughter National DNA Day

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