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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



Prior to returning to academia, Cynthia had a business career culminating in two positions as CEO running biotechnology-based drug development companies.  She also served on two Government quangos one on Gordon Brown's Bio-Innovation Growth Team and the other where she chaired the Science Sector Skills Council Industry Partnership Team.  In 2009 she came to Cambridge University to read Archaeology and Anthropology as an undergraduate and went on to achieve an MPhil in Archaeological Research.  Cynthia won the Antiquity MPhil Prize for achieving highest marks in year and was awarded a Scholarship by Jesus College.  Her undergraduate thesis was the Cambridge University nomination for the Quaternary Research Prize and her MPhil thesis was the University's nomination for the Environmental Archaeology Research Prize.  Cynthia was also offered a Studentship with Queen's College, Cambridge but chose to remain with Jesus College.  Her PhD focusses on the human evolutionary relationship with starch, correlating recent human genetic evidence of unusual genetic adaptation to starch during the Palaeolithic and the deep time Palaeolithic archaeobotanical evidence of processing plant starches.  Her fieldwork includes research at some of the World's most famous sites including Blombos Cave and Klasies River Cave Complex in South Africa and her research interests include human and plant genetics.


Key publications: 

Two papers in progress, one book chapter completed but not yet published in an edited volume and one monograph at planning stage.

Department: Archaeology
Supervisor: Professor Martin Jones
College: Jesus College
AHRC Subject Area: Archaeobotany
Title of Thesis: There are significant phylogenetic evolutionary differences in human adaptation to diet - how does that correlate with a deep history of processed plant food consumption?
 Cynthia  Larbey