Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith

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Office: 310 Lindo Ferguson Building


Brief Description of Research

The Matisoo-Smith lab focuses primarily on identifying the origins of Pacific peoples and their commensal plants and animals in order to better understand the settlement, history and prehistory of the Pacific and New Zealand. The group works on a range of projects funded by a variety of organizations, but the overarching research theme of the research group is Molecular Anthropology and Ancient DNA analyses. They have a brand new, state-of-the-art ancient DNA laboratory, located in the Richardson Building, as well as a fully equipped modern DNA lab in the University’s Lindo Ferguson Building.  Lisa is one of 13 Principal Investigators in the Genographic project ( ) which is sponsored by National Geographic, IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation.  She is responsible for sampling the Pacific region. She is also currently working on Marsden project looking at evidence for Polynesian contacts with South America, which will finish in Feb 2013. Lisa undertakes fieldwork across the Pacific, from New Guinea through to Chile, and is a Principal Investigator in the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution (


Click here for a list of recent publications