Gina Agostini-Walesch, Ph.D., M.A.
Assistant Research Professor
Dr. Agostini-Walesch received her PhD with distinction in 2017 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2018 she completed a postdoc with Arizona State University/Mayo Clinic Obesity Solutions and was in process with a second postdoc through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Biological Infrastructure when she joined the research team at Midwestern University’s College of Dental Medicine. She is trained as a biocultural anthropologist, a field known for its breadth, interdisciplinarity, and emphasis on intersectionality. She brings that perspective to her own research projects, all of which employ large-scale (“big data”) approaches to understanding the intersection of human health, culture, and biology (specifically skeletal and dental biology). She is a certified data scientist and a research methodologist.
Her NSF-funded dissertation showed that arm and leg bones, even highly plastic ones, reflect genetic relationships between human populations and can therefore be used to trace lineages across time and space. However, being a perpetually curious and proud research generalist, she has published on a wide array of collaborative projects. These include evolutionary and developmental biology, how stigma affects different aspects of health, photomapping of dental aerosols to evaluate risk in the covid-era, and more. Her research has taken her to 19 sites, 8 countries, and 4 continents to date. Her current publications can be found here. She is the vice president of the AZ chapter for the American Association of Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research. She is a member of the International Association of Dental Research and Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society.
Her personal interests include 3D printing, cross-stitching, weight-lifting, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction.