Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet

Frido Welker
Frido Welker


I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Ancient Protein research group led by Dr. Enrico Cappellini at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. I am interested in the study of ancient proteins in Human Evolution. My research utilizes mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics to extract and analyse ancient protein sequences from ancient human and fauna samples spanning several continents and the entire Pleistocene. My research led to the identification of the first ancient protein sequences from Toxodon and Macrauchenia, two extinct genera whose phylogentic positions have been hotly debated since their initial description by Charles Darwin (Welker et al., 2015, Nature). Furthermore, I have demonstrated that phylogenetically-informative protein sequences can be recovered from Late Pleistene hominin specimens (Welker et al., 2016, PNAS; Chen et al. 2019, Nature). This enables the study of hominin phylogeny beyond the (local) survival of ancient DNA through the analysis of surviving ancient protein sequences instead.

My current research therefore focuses on the recovery and MS-based analysis of increasingly older fauna and hominin proteins, primarily for phylogenetic purposes. This research is supported by a VILLUM Foundation grant, awarded to Dr. Enrico Cappellini, a Leakey Foundation research grant, and a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (2018-2020). In addition, together with the MPI-EVA in Leipzig (Germany), I am involved in the implementation of large-scale MALDI-TOF-MS analysis of fragmentary bone assemblages (ZooMS) to elucidate past hominin distributions and hominin-fauna interactions across Eurasia (see Welker et al., 2015, JAS; Welker et al., 2016, PNAS; Sinet-Mathiot et al. 2019, Scientific Reports).


Prospective students.

Are you interested in ancient proteins? Do you have a background in mass spectrometry, evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, archaeology or anthropology? We are always interested in motivated students. Prior experience with ancient proteins is NOT required. frido.welker [at]



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