Since 2018, we are equipped with an ancient DNA (aDNA) lab. We aim at using this facility to study the (more or less) recent evolution of zoonotic agents that succeeded in becoming endemic in human populations. Today, we have released a preprint to report about our first aDNA (actually, aRNA) study!
This study was only possible by getting an amazing crew together. Thanks a lot for all the good work to our wonderful colleagues of the Charite Museum where the 1912 measles case was found; to those from the Institute of Pathology at Charite who ran the histopathology; to our colleagues from the National Reference Centre for Measles at RKI who provided two additional strains from 1960; to Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma) who brought his essential insight regarding antique demography; to the team of Philippe Lemey at KU Leuven who co-led this work and together with Marc Suchard (University of California, Los Angeles) imagined the models that ultimately led to these new estimates; and finally to our motivated post-doc associates, students and technical assistants who all committed to running this very nice project on the little free time they have. ;-)