Life sciences
Qiaomei Fu
Qiaomei Fu was born in Gongqingcheng, Jiangxi Province, in December 1983. She is currently a full professor and doctoral supervisor at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She was also named a Distinguished Young Scholar by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), a chief scientist of the National Key Research and Development Program of China, a Young Affiliate by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), an Early Career Scientist by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and a Young Global Leader by the 2020 World Economic Forum. In 2013, she received her Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology. Since 2010, she has overseen the ancient DNA platform for the China-German Joint Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and, since 2018, has served as the deputy director of the Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Her research focuses on evolutionary genetics and population genetics, mainly applying ancient DNA and ancient proteins to explore the origins and evolution of humans and related species. For her innovative contributions, she was selected as one of the ten “Science Stars of China” by the journal Nature and was awarded several honors, including “China’s Science & Technology Award for Youths Special Prize”, “China’s Young Female Scientist Award”, “China Youth May Fourth Medal”, and “The First Scientific Exploration Award.” To date, she has published more than 60 academic papers in international SCI journals with a total impact factor of over 1500 and more than 7000 citations, including 29 papers published in the renowned journals of Nature, Science, and Cell. She also authorizes two China National patents. In addition, she serves as the deputy director of the Specialized Committee for Human Evolution, Environment and Archaeology of the Chinese Association for Quaternary Research. She is also a senior editor for the academic journal Molecular Biology and Evolution and is a member of the editorial boards for several journals such as Acta Anthropologica Sinica, Scientia Sinica Terrae, Hereditas (Beijing), Human Genomics, and PLOS Biology
Ancient Genomes Unveil Important Missing Piece of Human History in East Asia  

Human origins and evolution have always been the focus of the Earth and Life Sciences. To address this important scientific issue, the extraction, sequencing, and analysis of ancient genomes has become an emerging and powerful tool, thus forming as a cutting-edge research field for the country’s original innovation competitions. China once lagged far behind in the field of ancient genomics, and compared to other regions worldwide, the genetic history of humans in East Asia, especially China, is poorly understood. To fill in this gap, Professor Qiaomei Fu not only made significant breakthroughs concerning the evolution of East Asian populations, especially in the exploration of the origin of Chinese ethnic groups, but also made important innovations in key ancient genomic technologies to promote world-class ancient DNA research. Specifically, she co-developed the ancient nuclear DNA capture technique to realize genome-wide research on ancient humans across large time-scales and geographical areas. She also conducted systematic and large-scale ancient genomic studies by capturing and sequencing large numbers of ancient human genomes in China. These studies acquired the first Denisovan DNA in East Asia from the sediments (“soil”) of the Tibetan Plateau, decoded the earliest modern human genome in East Asia, mapped the dynamic genetic history of early populations in China over the past 40,000 years, and proposed the selective mechanisms for East Asian-specific adaptive genes. In all, these pioneering works reconstructed East Asian prehistory and opened up new prospects for the genetic study of past East Asians. She was invited to lead a review on ancient human genomics that incorporated early East Asians into the spatial-temporal research framework of Eurasian populations, highlighting our country’s scientific research strength and relevant discourse power internationally. The review concretely charted the migration of human populations around the globe as well as their interactions and evolution over tens of thousands of years. Her insights into the evolution of East Asians are published throughout more than 30 papers in international SCI journals, such as Nature, Science, and Cell, of which some have been selected as one of “China’s Top Ten Science Advances”, “China’s Top Ten Paleontological Advances”, and the “World’s Top Ten New Cognitions for Human Origin Research”. Her research has revealed previously unknown genetic connections among East Asian populations and other ancient and present-day populations in different regions of the world, which have renewed, replenished, or revised several existing hypotheses, and played a significant role in a more comprehensive reconstruction of human history. Further, some of these important studies have revealed the evolutionary basis of genes related to human physiological functions, diseases or environmental adaptations, providing important scientific value and practical significance for human microevolution and medical genetics research.