Julia Zichello

Julia Zichello standing behind a table on which primate skulls are displayed

Julia Zichello is an evolutionary biologist with a research focus on human and primate evolution. Dr. Zichello is a Research Associate in the Division of Anthropology at AMNH; a Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at Fairfield University; and a Resource Faculty Member in the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology.

For six years, Julia managed the Museum’s Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins in the Hall of Human Origins Exhibition. The Lab offers educational programming for middle and high school students throughout the school year and is open to all Museum visitors on weekends. There, she designed and facilitated programs in human evolution, genetics, and neuroscience. She especially loved the unique opportunity to teach evolution to thousands of Museum visitors from all over the world, and local students from all five boroughs of New York City. Julia has also taught evolution in other formats including adult continuing education courses, online courses, local field work, and mentoring students in long-term research projects.

Dr. Zichello’s research combines the study of population genetics with skeletal anatomy to understand how variation evolves within species. One central question that drives her research is: Why are certain species more variable than others? For example, human genetic diversity is lower than that of chimpanzees. This is due to the unique population history of humans which includes population size fluctuations followed by rapid expansion. Dr. Zichello uses these patterns of diversity, derived from population genetics, to guide investigation of morphological variation within species. This work has important implications for understanding and contextualizing morphological variation in fossil species.

Her recent research can be found here.