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Dr Maru Mormina is Reader in Science, Ethics and Society. Her academic background is in the life sciences, with a degree in Genetics followed by a PhD from the University of Leeds (2007). She worked for a number of years as a population geneticist with a focus on indigenous populations, holding academic positions at Cambridge and the University of East Anglia. Her research, which involved substantial fieldwork in South America, exposed her to the inequalities in access to healthcare by populations in the developing world. Moreover, having lived and worked in South America and collaborated with many colleagues in these countries helped her understand the challenges biomedical professionals face: unstable employment; poor skills training and infrastructure; inadequate support from policymakers, etc. These experiences stimulated Maru’s current research interest in the partnership model for capacity strengthening.

Since moving to the University of Winchester, she has developed Social Science research aimed at understanding the strengths and limitations of international partnerships. Her work aims to provide an ethical analysis of international partnerships and a conceptual framework for capacity strengthening in low and middle income countries which draws from the Capability Approach, the Right to Development and concepts of solidarity borrowed from political philosophy.

Recent professional activities:

Consultancy for the Monitoring and Evaluation team at the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET). Evaluation of training within global health partnerships (2016, 3 months, pro-bono).

External member of the Hampshire Children's Services Research Governance group (2015-16)

Journal Referee service: Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, BioMed Central Genetics, Croatian Medical Journal, BioMed Central Evolutionary Biology.

Visit Maru's personal website

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Areas of expertise

  • Global health, ethics and international development
  • Population genomics


  • ​Mormina, M. (2018) Science, Technology and Innovation as Social Goods for Development: Rethinking Research Capacity Building from Sen's Capabilities Approach. Science and Engineering Ethics. DOI: 10.1007/s11948-018-0037-1
  • Inchley, C., Larbey, C., Shwan, N., Pagani, L., Saag, L., Antão, T., Jacobs, G., Hudjashov, G., Metspalu, E., Mitt, M., Eichstaedt, C., Malyarchuk, B., Derenko, M., Wee, J. Abdullah, S. Ricaut, F.-X., Mormina, M., Mägi, R., Villems, R., Metspalu, M., Jones, M., Armour, J., and Kivisild, T. (2016) Selective sweep on human amylase genes postdates the split with Neanderthals. Scientific Reports, 6 (37198).
  • Pagani, L., Lawson, JD., Jagoda, E. Mormina, M. Metspalu, M. Geographical barriers, environmental challenges, and complex migration events during the peopling of Eurasia. 2016. Nature (advanced online publication) doi:10.1038/nature19792
  • Mormina, M. (2016) Palaeodemography: Methods and recent advances. Encyclopaedia of Geoarchaeology; Allan Gilbert Ed, Springer.
  • Brandao, A., Eng, K. K., Rito, T., Cavadas, B., Bulbeck, D., Gandini, F., Pala, M., Mormina, M., Hudson, B., White, J., Ko, T.-M., Saidin, M., Zafarina, Z., Oppenheimer, S., Richards, M. B., Pereira, L. & Soares, P. 2016. Quantifying the legacy of the Chinese Neolithic on the maternal genetic heritage of Taiwan and Island Southeast Asia. Human Genetics, 135, 363-376.
  • Soares, P. A., Trejaut, J. A., Rito, T., Cavadas, B., Hill, C., Eng, K. K., Mormina, M., Brandao, A., Fraser, R. M., Wang, T.-Y., Loo, J.-H., Snell, C., Ko, T.-M., Amorim, A., Pala, M., Macaulay, V., Bulbeck, D., Wilson, J. F., Gusmao, L., Pereira, L., Oppenheimer, S., Lin, M. & Richards, M. B. 2016. Resolving the ancestry of Austronesian-speaking populations. Human Genetics, 135, 309-326.
  • Eichstaedt, CA, Antão T, Cardona A, Pagani L, Kivisild T, Mormina M (2015) Genetic and Phenotypic Differentiation of an Andean Intermediate Altitude Population. Physiological Reports, 3(5) e12376.
  • Karmin, M., Saag, L., Vicente, M., Wilson Sayres, MA., Järve, M., Talas, UG., Rootsi, S., Ilumäe, A-M., Mägi, R., Mitt, M., Pagani, L., Puurand, T., Faltyskova, Z., Clemente, F., Cardona, A., Metspalu, E., Sahakyan, H., Yunusbayev, B., Hudjashov, G., DeGiorgio, M., Loogväli, E-L., Eichstaedt, C., Eelmets, M., Chaubey, G., Tambets, K., Litvinov, S., Mormina, M., et al. (2015). A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture. Genome Res. Published in Advance March 13, 2015, doi:10.1101/gr.186684.114.
  • Eichstaedt, CA, Antão T, Pagani L, Cardona A, Kivisild T, Mormina M (2014) The Andean Adaptive Toolkit to Counteract High Altitude Maladaptation: Genome-Wide and Phenotypic Analysis of the Collas. PLoS ONE 9(3): e93314. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093314.
  • Soares, P., Rito, T., Hill, C., Mormina, M., Tinkler, E., Braid, M., Clarke, D., Macaulay, V., Oppenheimer, S., Richards, M. (2011) Ancient voyaging corridor and Polynesian origins. American Journal of Human Genetics, 88(2):239–247.
  • Scholes, C., Siddle, K., Ducourneau, A., Crivellaro, F., Järve, M., Rootsi, S., Bellatti, M., Tabbada, K., Mormina, M., Reidla, M., Villems, R., Kivisild, T., Mirazon Lahr, M., Bamberg Migliano, A. Genetic diversity and evidence for population admixture in Batak Negritos from Palawan. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 146 (1): 62-72.
  • Razafindrazaka H, Ricaut F-X, Cox MP, Mormina M, Dugoujon J-M, Randriamarolaza LP, Guitard E, Tonasso L, Ludes B, Crubézy E (2009) Complete mitochondrial DNA sequences provide new Insights into the Polynesian Motif and the Peopling of Madagascar. European Journal of Human Genetics (advance online publication, doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2009.222).
  • Ricaut F-X, Razafindrazaka H, Cox MP, Dugoujon JM, Guitard E, Sambo C, Mirazon Lahr, M., Ludes B, Crubezy E, Mormina M. (2009) A New Deep Branch of Eurasian mtDNA Macrohaplogroup M Reveals Complex Demographic Patterns during the Settlement of Madagascar. BMC genomics 10:605 (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-605).
  • Ricaut F-X, Thomas T, Mormina M, Cox MP, Bellatti M, Mirazon-Lahr M, and Foley R. 2009. Ancient Solomon Islands mtDNA: assessing Holocene settlement and the impact of European contact. Journal of Archaeological Science.
  • Mormina M, Higham C (2009) Climate Crises and the Population History of Southeast Asia. In: Mainwaring AB, Giegengack R, Vita-Finzi C (eds) Climate Crises in Human History. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Philadelphia.
  • Soares P, Ermini L, Thomson N, Mormina M, Rito T, Röhl A, Salas A, Oppenheimer S, Macaulay V, and Richards MB. 2009. Correcting for Purifying Selection: An Improved Human Mitochondrial Molecular Clock. The American Journal of Human Genetics 84(6):740-759.
  • Soares, P., Trejaut, J., Mormina, M., Loo, J.-H., Hill, C., Macaulay, V., Bulbeck, D., Oppenheimer, S., Lin, M., Richards, M. Climate change and post-glacial human dispersals in Southeast Asia. Mol Biol Evol 25 (6), 1209 (2008).
  • Hill C, Soares P, Mormina M, Macaulay V, Clarke D, Blumbach PB, Vizuete-Forster M, Forster P, Bulbeck D, Oppenheimer S, Richards M. A mitochondrial stratigraphy for the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago: Testing models of prehistoric dispersals. (2007). The American Journal of Human Genetics 80(1): 29-43.
  • Hill, C., Soares, P., Mormina, M., Macaulay, V., Meehan, W., Blackburn, J., Clarke, D., Maripa Raja, J., Ismail, P. Bulbeck, D., Oppenheimer, S., Richards, M. (2006) Phylogeography and Ethnogenesis of Aboriginal Southeast Asians. Molecular Biology and Evolution 12:2480-91.
  • Mormina ME, Thakur S, Molleman A, Whelan CJ, Baydoun AR (2006) Cannabinoid signalling in TNF-alpha induced IL-8 release. Eur J Pharmacol. 540(1-3):183-90.


​Conferences presentations and invited contributions

  • 2017 Invited speaker at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford.
  • 2016 Invited panellist, Global Health Ethics Panel, World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics Conference.
  • 2016 Oral presentation at the FAB 2016 World Congress (organised by the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics). Title: “Should taxpayers fund assisted reproduction?”
  • 2016 Oral presentation at the 3rd conference of the Institute of Medical Ethics (forthcoming). Title: “Solidarity and Justice in international research: mutually exclusive or complementary approaches?”
  • 2015 “Exploitation in International Genomic Research”, paper presented at the Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference, Ethox Centre, University of Oxford.
  • 2014 “The Governance of Genetic Information”, Winchester Conference on Trust, Risk, Information and the Law.
  • 2009 13 Guest lecturer at the Cambridge Language School
  • 2010 Guest lecturer, English for Academic Purposes course, Cambridge University Press.
  • 2009 Contributor at the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Seminar on Global Vascular Health
  • 2009 Invited lecturer, Humans on the move, Honours Class programme, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  • 2008 “Diaspora of coastal hunter gatherer groups with the Holocene sea level rise” Lecture presented at Penn University (USA) during the workshop “Climate Crises in Human History”
  • 2006 “Simulations, Genetics and Human Prehistory? A Focus on Islands”, (attendance by invitation only), McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
  • 2004 “Phylogeography of mtDNA in Mainland Southeast Asia”. Talk presented at the BBSRC Theoretical Genetics and Evolution Summer School, UK
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