Dr. Miguel Vilar is a Senior Program Officer for the National Geographic Society (NGS) and Lead Scientist for NGS’ Genographic Project, a multi-year anthropology study that aims to map human migration patterns by collecting and analyzing DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. By training, Miguel is a molecular anthropologist and science writer.
Vilar earned his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Haverford College and Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia University. After a few years of science writing for Popular Science, Science World, and the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, he returned to school to earn his Master of Science in Biomedical Anthropology, Master of Arts in Anthropology, and Doctorate in Anthropology from Binghamton University, in 2006, 2007 and 2010, respectively. After earning his doctorate, Vilar completed a three-year Post-Doc at the University of Pennsylvania, leading several field projects across Latin America for the Genographic Project's North America Research Center.
Today, his fieldwork takes him to Micronesia, Melanesia, South and Central America, and the Caribbean; and in the laboratory he studies the modern genetic diversity of human populations from Micronesia, Melanesia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. He also researches the genetics of domestic animals (pigs, chickens, dogs and horses) and the cultural and biological implications of animal domestication on human evolution, population history and migration.
In addition, Vilar is an experienced professor of Biology and Anthropology, having taught for academic departments in Binghamton University, Lincoln University, the University of Guam, the University of Pennsylvania, and currently teaching at the University of Maryland. Vilar publishes in both anthropology and genetics academic journals, as well as in popular science print and online magazines and online media. Vilar is also a public speaker, and a genetics and anthropology consultant for National Geographic Expeditions, Magazine, Books and Television.