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Elisabeth Hempel
PhD student
Evolutionary  Adaptive Genomics Group
Department of Biochemistry & Biology
University of Potsdam
Haus 29, Raum 2.69
Email: elis.hempelposteoorg
Phone: +49 (0) 331 977 2643

MSc Organismic Biology, Philipps University Marburg, Germany
BSc Biology, Philipps University Marburg, Germany

Research interests

My main research interests are African bovids and paleogenomics. I am a joint PhD student at the University of Potsdam and the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. In my PhD I use ancient/archival DNA and next-generation sequencing technology to investigate the Holocene and Pleistocene evolutionary history and phylogeographic structure of the different members of the tribe Hippotragini (Addax, Oryx and Hippotragus), extant as well as extinct. For this I conducted sampling expeditions to museum collections around Europe and South Africa to sample skulls, bones, teeth, skin etc. I am particularly interested in the blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) and its early extinction. In addition, I am investigating the current and former diversity of the most arid adapted antelope: the addax (Addax nasomaculatus) and the population history of the genus Oryx.

You can also find my research on Research Gate:


  • Plaxton, L.*, Hempel, E.*, Marsh, W.A., Portela Miguez, R., Waurick, I., Kitchener, A.C.,Hofreiter, M., Lister, A.M., Zachos, F.E. & Brace, S. 2023. Assessing the identity of rare historical museum specimens of the extinct blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) using an ancient DNA approach. Mammalian Biology. DOI: 10.1007/s42991-023-00373-4 *Authors contributed equally
  • Hempel, E., Bibi, F., Faith, J.T., Koepfli, K.-P., Klittich, A.M., Duchêne, D.A., Brink, J.S., Kalthoff, D.C., Dalén, L., Hofreiter, M. and Westbury, M.V. 2022. Blue turns to gray - Paleogenomic insights into the evolutionary history and extinction of the blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus). Molecular Biology and Evolution 39 (12): msac241. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msac241
  • Hempel, E., Westbury, M. V., Grau, J. H., Trinks, A., Paijmans, J.L.A., Kliver, S., Barlow, A., Mayer, F., Müller, J., Chen, L., Koepfli, K.-P., Hofreiter, M. & Bibi, F. 2021. Diversity and Paleodemography of the Addax (Addax nasomaculatus), a Saharan Antelope on the Verge of Extinction. Genes 12 (8): 1236. DOI: 10.339/genes12081236.
  • Smith, A.D., Kaminski, M.J., Kanda, K., Sweet, A.D., Betancourt, J.L., Holmgren, C.A., Hempel, E., Alberti, F. & Hofreiter, M. 2021. Recovery and analysis of ancient beetle DNA from subfossil packrat middens using high-throughput sequencing. Scientific Reports 11: 12635. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-91896-8.
  • Hempel, E., Bibi, F., Faith, J.T., Brink, J.S., Kalthoff, D.C.,Kamminga, P, Paijmans, J.L.A., Westbury, M.V., Hofreiter, M. & Zachos, F.E. (2021) Identifying the true number of specimens of the extinct blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus). Scientific Reports 11: 2100. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80142-2.
  • Çoraman, E., Dietz, Chr., Hempel E., Ghazaryan, A., Levin, E., Presetnik, P., Zagmajster M. & Mayer, F. (2019) Reticulate evolutionary history of a Western Palaearctic Bat Complex explained by multiple mtDNA introgressions in secondary contacts. Journal of Biogeogeography 46 (2): 343-354. DOI:10.1111/jbi.13509.