Melanie Beasley is assistant professor at Perdue University where she directs the Bioanth Isotope Ecology Research Laboratory (BIER Lab). Melanie Beasley received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2016. From 2017-2019, she was a Haslam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville conducting research at the Forensic Anthropology Center.
Dr. Beasley’s work focuses broadly on human-environment interactions throughout the hominin lineage when the environment is influencing our evolutionary history, in the Holocene when humans are influencing the availability of prey resources, and in modern forensic contexts when the environment imprints meaningful geolocation information in biological tissues. She uses stable isotope geochemistry to connect humans and the environment they live in to understand changing climate, resource availability, and life history. Dr. Beasley’s scholarship in paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, and forensics can be summed up as tackling humanity’s grand challenge through a “right to know”. The right of all humanity to understand how a changing climate has shaped our evolutionary history. The right of descendant communities to use modern analytical methods to learn about prehistoric lifeways. The right of victim’s families to know what happened to their loved ones, the right to have remains returned to families for final disposition, and the right for justice against mass atrocities of genocide. The use of stable isotope geochemistry and the big data generated by such an analytical method in anthropology has only scratched the surface of what it can offer to the discipline and it’s contributions to humanity’s grand challenges. Through her research she sees the Anthropology of Tomorrow as an interdisciplinary blending of the social and natural sciences in an applied approach that makes anthropology relevant to living communities.