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Diyendo Massilani

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Diyendo Massilani

Lab Location

Mailing Address

  • Genetics

    333 Cedar St., Sterling Hall of Medicine I-234c

    New Haven, CT 06510

    United States


Diyendo started his scientific journey studying the chemical composition of local medicinal herbs in the laboratory of Pharmacology and Ethnology of the University of Health Sciences in Gabon (Central Africa) under the supervision of Pr. Blandine Akendengué. There, he obtained a Technical Degree of Medical Sciences in 2007.

He then went to study in Sorbonne University in Paris (France) and received a Bachelor of Life Sciences in 2010 and a Master of Molecular and Cellular Biology - specialty Genetics in 2012.

Fascinated by the idea of studying evolution using DNA from archaeological fossils, he joined the Epigenomics and Palaeogenomics lab of the Jacques Monod Institute in Paris. Under the supervision of Dr. Eva-Maria Geigl and Dr. Thierry Grange, he optimized methods for ancient DNA extraction and high throughput sequencing and developed hybridization-based enrichment approaches to capture the mitochondrial genome of any ancient specie of interest using RNA probes generated from DNA extracted from extant counterparts’ tissues. He applied his methods to study Bovids Evolution and Cattle Domestication and obtained a PhD in Genomics in 2016 from the Paris Cité University.

In 2017, Diyendo joined the department of Evolutionary Genetics of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany) to work on archaic and early modern human population history with Dr. Matthias Meyer and Pr. Svante Pääbo. In addition, he worked on methods to optimize the retrieval of ancient DNA from sediment and pioneered the technique of local sampling approach using undisturbed blocks of resin-impregnated sediment.

Diyendo joined the Yale Department of Genetics as an Assistant Professor in July 2022.

The Massilani Lab investigate the evolutionary history of modern and extinct human populations using ancient DNA. The lab focuses on the retrieval and sequencing of DNA from archaeological materials to study the peopling of the world, the history of human health and their adaptation to different environments and lifestyle conditions.

Education & Training

  • AS
    University of Health Sciences, Pharmacology and Ethnology (2027)
  • Postdoctoral fellow
    Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (2022)
  • PhD
    Paris Cité University, Genomics (2016)
  • MS
    Sorbone University, Molecular and Cellular Biology (2012)
  • BS
    Sorbonne University , Life Science (2010)

Departments & Organizations