People

Martyna Molak

Martyna Molak

I am a PhD student in the Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and Phylogenetics research group under the supervision of A/Prof. Simon Ho.

My research involves a theoretical approach to post-mortem DNA damage and other issues associated with analyses of ancient DNA.

I graduated from both my Bachelor's and Master’s degrees at the University of Warsaw (Poland). My research involved analyses of pre-Hispanic South American populations based on genetic data recovered from human remains.

My areas of interest are include ancient DNA, population genetics, forensic genetics, molecular evolution, primate and hominid evolution, natural selection, and sexual selection.


Post-mortem decay of DNA

Academic record

Present Ph.D., University of Sydney
Supervisor: Simon Ho
2009 M.Sc., University of Warsaw
Thesis: Genetic analysis of the pre-Columbian populations of Andean Indians
Supervisor: Piotr Weglenski
2007 B.Sc., University of Warsaw
Thesis: DNA isolation and amplification from a pre-Columbian Peruvian mummy
Supervisor: Piotr Weglenski


Awards

  • Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement, 2013
  • Winton Foundation Postgraduate Top-up Scholarship in Mathematical Biology, 2013
  • University of Sydney International Scholarship, 2011-2013

Publications

Molak M (in press) Polymerase chain reaction. Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods, eds Rink WJ, & Thompson JW. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg.

Stiller M*, Molak M* (*equal first authors), Prost S, Rabeder G, Baryshnikov G, Rosendahl W, Munzel S, Bocherens H, Grandal-d'Anglade A, Hilpert B, Germonpré M, Stasyk O, Pinhasi R, Tintori A, Rohland N, Mohandesan E, Ho SYW, Hofreiter M^, Knapp M^. In press. Mitochondrial DNA diversity and the evolution of the Pleistocene cave bear complex. Quaternary International.

Duchene S, Molak M, & Ho SYW. 2014. ClockstaR: Choosing the number of relaxed-clock models in molecular phylogenetic analysis. Bioinformatics, 30: 1017-1019.

Ho SYW, Endicott P, & Molak M. 2014. Molecular timescale of human evolution. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, ed. Smith C. Springer, New York. Article 1794.

Ho SYW, Endicott P, & Molak M. 2014. DNA interpretation constraints in archaeology. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, ed. Smith C. Springer, New York. Article 678.

Molak M, Lorenzen ED, Shapiro B, & Ho SYW. 2013. Phylogenetic estimation of timescales using ancient DNA: The effects of temporal sampling scheme and uncertainty in sample ages. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30: 253-262.

Molak M, & Ho SYW. 2011. Evaluating the impact of post-mortem damage in ancient DNA: A theoretical approach. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 73: 244-255.

Nguyen JMT, Molak M, Black KH, Fitzgerald EMG, Travouillon KJ, & Ho SYW. 2011. Vertebrate palaeontology of Australasia into the twenty-first century. Biology Letters, 7: 804-806.

Baca M, & Molak M. 2008. Research on ancient DNA in the Near East. Bioarchaeology of the Near East, 2: 39-61.

Presentations

Estimating evolutionary timescales using ancient DNA: Accounting for uncertainty in sample ages (poster)
Winton Foundation Showcase. Sydney, Australia. Oct 2013.

How wrong can your date go? Time-dependent patterns in evolutionary rates and their implications for estimation of evolutionary timescales
Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics. Adelaide, Australia. Oct 2013.

A skyline view through the neck of a bottle: Detecting historical population crashes using DNA sequences
Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide. Adelaide, Australia. Sep 2013.

A skyline view through the neck of a bottle: Detecting historical population crashes using DNA sequences
Genetics Society of Australasia Conference. Sydney, Australia. Jul 2013.

A biologist’s issues with dating: A study of time-dependent evolutionary rates and a guide to molecular clock calibration
University of Warsaw. Warsaw, Poland. Jun 2013.

Estimating evolutionary timescales using ancient DNA
Biodiversity Genomics Conference. Canberra, Australia. Apr 2013.

Time-dependent evolutionary rates in higher vertebrates: A guide to molecular-clock calibration
Phylomania Conference. Hobart, Australia. Nov 2012.

Estimating evolutionary timescales using ancient DNA: Accounting for uncertainty in sample ages (poster)
Phylomania Conference. Hobart, Australia. Nov 2012.

A biologist’s issues with dating: A study of time-dependent evolutionary rates and a guide to molecular clock calibration
Genetics Society of Australasia Conference. Melbourne, Australia. Jul 2012.

Estimating evolutionary timescales using ancient DNA: Accounting for uncertainty in sample ages (poster)
Genetics Society of Australasia Conference. Melbourne, Australia. Jul 2012.

Using ancient DNA in estimation of timeframes for evolutionary and demographic events
University of Warsaw. Warsaw, Poland. Dec 2011.

Using ancient DNA in estimation of timeframes for evolutionary and demographic events
University of Copenhagen. Copenhagen, Denmark. Dec 2011.

Using ancient DNA in estimation of timeframes for evolutionary and demographic events
"Comparing Ancient and Modern DNA Variability in Human Populations" International Conference. Porto, Portugal. Nov 2011.

Evaluating the impact of post-mortem damage in ancient DNA: A theoretical approach (poster)
Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology & Systematics. Perth, Australia. Apr 2011.