Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Nina G. Jablonski, PhD

Nina G. Jablonski, PhD

Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology, Anthropology
Scientific Program:Cancer Control

Research Interests

Nina G. Jablonski is Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology at The Pennsylvania State University.  A biological anthropologist and paleobiologist, she studies the evolution of adaptations to the environment in Old World primates including humans.

Her research program is focused in two major areas.  Her paleoanthropological research concerns the evolutionary history of Old World monkeys, and currently includes an active field project in China.  Her research on the evolution of human adaptations to the environment centers on the evolution of human skin and skin pigmentation, and includes an active field project examining the relationship between skin pigmentation and vitamin D production.

Jablonski is currently collaborating on the development of new approaches to science education in the United States.  These approaches have the dual aims of improving the understanding of evolution and human diversity, and stimulating interest among students in pursuing STEM courses and careers.  With the support of NESCent (the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center) and active collaboration of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., she is leading a group of 30 scholars in the development of “genetics and genealogy” curricula for K-12 and undergraduate university students.

  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Skin
  • Vitamin D
  • Population
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Genes
  • Folic Acid
  • Hair
  • Tooth
  • Pigmentation
  • Hominidae
  • Health

Recent Publications


Chen, HY & Jablonski, NG 2021, 'Deeper than the surface: Exploring symbolic cultural cues behind skin color among three groups of women of Chinese heritage', American Journal of Cultural Sociology.
Lasisi, T, Zaidi, AA, Webster, TH, Stephens, NB, Routch, K, Jablonski, NG & Shriver, MD 2021, 'High-throughput phenotyping methods for quantifying hair fiber morphology', Scientific reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 11535.
Sun, F, Wang, Y, Jablonski, NG, Hou, S, Ji, X, Wolff, B, Tripati, A, Cao, J & Yang, X 2021, 'Paleoenvironment of the late Miocene Shuitangba hominoids from Yunnan, Southwest China: Insights from stable isotopes', Chemical Geology, vol. 569, 120123.
Savoldi, F, Montalvao, C, Hui, L, Leung, CKK, Jablonski, NG, Tsoi, JKH & Bornstein, MM 2021, 'The Human Bone Collection of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong: History and description of cranial and postcranial skeletal remains', American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 175, no. 3, pp. 718-730.
Jablonski, NG 2021, 'The evolution of human skin pigmentation involved the interactions of genetic, environmental, and cultural variables', Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 707-729.


Jones, P, Lucock, M, Chaplin, G, Jablonski, NG, Veysey, M, Scarlett, C & Beckett, E 2020, 'Distribution of variants in multiple vitamin D-related loci (DHCR7/NADSYN1, GC, CYP2R1, CYP11A1, CYP24A1, VDR, RXRα and RXRγ) vary between European, East-Asian and Sub-Saharan African-ancestry populations', Genes and Nutrition, vol. 15, no. 1, 5.
Wolf, ST, Jablonski, NG & Kenney, WL 2020, 'Examining "race" in physiology', American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol. 319, no. 6.
Wolf, ST, Jablonski, NG, Ferguson, SB, Alexander, LM & Kenney, WL 2020, 'Four weeks of vitamin D supplementation improves nitric oxide-mediated microvascular function in college-aged African Americans', American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol. 319, no. 4, pp. H906-H914.
Li, P, Zhang, C, Kelley, J, Deng, C, Ji, X, Jablonski, NG, Wu, H, Fu, Y, Guo, Z & Zhu, R 2020, 'Late Miocene Climate Cooling Contributed to the Disappearance of Hominoids in Yunnan Region, Southwestern China', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 47, no. 11, e2020GL087741.
Jablonski, NG, Ji, X, Kelley, J, Flynn, LJ, Deng, C & Su, DF 2020, 'Mesopithecus pentelicus from Zhaotong, China, the easternmost representative of a widespread Miocene cercopithecoid species', Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 146, 102851.
Koch, SL, Liebowitz, C, Shriver, MD & Jablonski, NG 2021, 'Microscopical discrimination of human head hairs sharing a mitochondrial haplogroup', Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 56-71.
Khan, MA, Kelley, J, Flynn, LJ, Babar, MA & Jablonski, NG 2020, 'New fossils of Mesopithecus from Hasnot, Pakistan', Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 145, 102818.
Ji, X, Youlatos, D, Jablonski, NG, Pan, R, Zhang, C, Li, P, Tang, M, Yu, T, Li, W, Deng, C & Li, S 2020, 'Oldest colobine calcaneus from East Asia (Zhaotong, Yunnan, China)', Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 147, 102866.
Jablonski, NG 2021, 'Skin color and race', American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 175, no. 2, pp. 437-447.
Jablonski, NG 2021, 'Social and affective touch in primates and its role in the evolution of social cohesion', Neuroscience, vol. 464, pp. 117-125.


Chen, HY, Jablonski, NG, Chick, G & Yarnal, C 2019, 'Caught between "light skin is beautiful and tanned skin is attractive": How bicultural socialization shapes attitudes toward skin color aesthetics', Asian American Journal of Psychology, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 326-340.
Li, P, Zhang, C, Guo, Z, Deng, C, Ji, X, Jablonski, NG, Wu, H & Zhu, R 2019, 'Clay mineral assemblages in the Zhaotong Basin of southwestern China: Implications for the late Miocene and Pliocene evolution of the South Asian monsoon', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 516, pp. 90-100.
Lucock, M, Thota, R, Garg, M, Martin, C, Jones, P, Furst, J, Yates, Z, Jablonski, NG, Chaplin, G, Veysey, M & Beckett, E 2019, 'Early lifecycle UV-exposure calibrates adult vitamin D metabolism: Evidence for a developmentally originated vitamin D homeostat that may alter related adult phenotypes', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 31, no. 4, e23272.
Sheng, GL, Basler, N, Ji, XP, Paijmans, JLA, Alberti, F, Preick, M, Hartmann, S, Westbury, MV, Yuan, JX, Jablonski, NG, Xenikoudakis, G, Hou, XD, Xiao, B, Liu, JH, Hofreiter, M, Lai, XL & Barlow, A 2019, 'Paleogenome Reveals Genetic Contribution of Extinct Giant Panda to Extant Populations', Current Biology, vol. 29, no. 10, pp. 1695-1700.e6.
Wright, EA, Wagner, JK, Shriver, MD, Fernandez, JR & Jablonski, NG 2019, 'Practical and Ethical Considerations of Using Personal DNA Tests with Middle-School-Aged Learners', American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 104, no. 2, pp. 197-202.
Passeron, T, Bouillon, R, Callender, V, Cestari, T, Diepgen, TL, Green, AC, van der Pols, JC, Bernard, BA, Ly, F, Bernerd, F, Marrot, L, Nielsen, M, Verschoore, M, Jablonski, NG & Young, AR 2019, 'Sunscreen photoprotection and vitamin D status', British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 181, no. 5, pp. 916-931.
Zhou, Y, Ji, X, Li, Y, Forestier, H, Jablonski, NG, Ding, S, Zhao, J, Chen, P, Wang, L, Liang, T & He, C 2020, 'Tangzigou open-air site: A unique lithic assemblage during the Early Holocene in Yunnan Province, Southwest China', Quaternary International, vol. 563, pp. 105-118.
Koch, SL, Tridico, SR, Bernard, BA, Shriver, MD & Jablonski, NG 2020, 'The biology of human hair: A multidisciplinary review', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 32, no. 2, e23316.


Chen, HY, Robinson, JK & Jablonski, NG 2018, 'A Cross-cultural exploration on the psychological aspects of skin color aesthetics: Implications for sun-related behavior', Translational behavioral medicine, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 234-243.
Wolf, ST, Stanhewicz, AE, Jablonski, NG & Kenney, WL 2018, 'Acute ultraviolet radiation exposure attenuates nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation in the cutaneous microvasculature of healthy humans', Journal of applied physiology, vol. 125, no. 4, pp. 1232-1237.
Sheng, GL, Barlow, A, Cooper, A, Hou, XD, Ji, XP, Jablonski, NG, Zhong, BJ, Liu, H, Flynn, LJ, Yuan, JX, Wang, LR, Basler, N, Westbury, MV, Hofreiter, M & Lai, XL 2018, 'Ancient DNA from giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) of south-western China reveals genetic diversity loss during the holocene', Genes, vol. 9, no. 4, 198.
Hou, S, Su, DF, Kelley, J, Deng, T, Jablonski, NG, Flynn, LJ, Ji, X, Cao, J & Yang, X 2019, 'Correction to: New Fossil Suid Specimens from the Terminal Miocene Hominoid Locality of Shuitangba, Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, China (Journal of Mammalian Evolution, (2019), 26, 4, (557-571), 10.1007/s10914-018-9431-3)', Journal of Mammalian Evolution, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 573-574.
Hlusko, LJ, Carlson, JP, Chaplin, G, Elias, SA, Hoffecker, JF, Huffman, M, Jablonski, NG, Monson, TA, O’Rourke, DH, Pilloud, MA & Richard Scott, G 2018, 'Environmental selection during the last ice age on the mother-to-infant transmission of vitamin D and fatty acids through breast milk', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 115, no. 19, pp. E4426-E4432.
Jablonski, NG 2018, Evolution of Human Skin Color and Vitamin D. in Biochemistry, Physiology and Diagnostics. vol. 1, Elsevier Inc., pp. 29-44.
Ryan, TM, Carlson, KJ, Gordon, AD, Jablonski, N, Shaw, CN & Stock, JT 2018, 'Human-like hip joint loading in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus', Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 121, pp. 12-24.
Geller, AC, Jablonski, NG, Pagoto, SL, Hay, JL, Hillhouse, J, Buller, DB, Kenney, WL, Robinson, JK, Weller, RB, Moreno, MA, Gilchrest, BA, Sinclair, C, Arndt, J, Taber, JM, Morris, KL, Dwyer, LA, Perna, FM, Klein, WMP & Suls, J 2018, 'Interdisciplinary perspectives on sun safety', JAMA Dermatology, vol. 154, no. 1, pp. 88-92.
Hou, S, Su, DF, Kelley, J, Deng, T, Jablonski, NG, Flynn, LJ, Ji, X, Cao, J & Yang, X 2019, 'New Fossil Suid Specimens from the Terminal Miocene Hominoid Locality of Shuitangba, Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, China', Journal of Mammalian Evolution, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 557-571.
Quillen, EE, Norton, HL, Parra, EJ, Lona-Durazo, F, Ang, KC, Illiescu, FM, Pearson, LN, Shriver, MD, Lasisi, T, Gokcumen, O, Starr, I, Lin, YL, Martin, AR & Jablonski, NG 2019, 'Shades of complexity: New perspectives on the evolution and genetic architecture of human skin', American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 168, pp. 4-26.
Robinson, JK & Jablonski, NG 2018, 'Sun protection and skin self-examination and the US preventive services task force recommendation on behavioral counseling for skin cancer prevention', JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 319, no. 11, pp. 1101-1102.
Iliescu, FM, Chaplin, G, Rai, N, Jacobs, GS, Basu Mallick, C, Mishra, A, Thangaraj, K & Jablonski, NG 2018, 'The influences of genes, the environment, and social factors on the evolution of skin color diversity in India', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 30, no. 5, e23170.
Jablonski, NG & Chaplin, G 2018, 'The roles of vitamin D and cutaneous vitamin D production in human evolution and health', International Journal of Paleopathology, vol. 23, pp. 54-59.
Koch, SL, Shriver, MD & Jablonski, NG 2019, 'Variation in human hair ultrastructure among three biogeographic populations', Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 205, no. 1, pp. 60-66.
Lucock, M, Thota, R, Garg, M, Martin, C, Jones, P, Furst, J, Yates, Z, Jablonski, NG, Chaplin, G, Veysey, M, Sutherland, JM & Beckett, E 2018, 'Vitamin D and folate: A reciprocal environmental association based on seasonality and genetic disposition', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 30, no. 5, e23166.


Wang, X, Grohé, C, Su, DF, White, SC, Ji, X, Kelley, J, Jablonski, NG, Deng, T, You, Y & Yang, X 2018, 'A new otter of giant size, Siamogale melilutra sp. nov. (Lutrinae: Mustelidae: Carnivora), from the latest Miocene Shuitangba site in north-eastern Yunnan, south-western China, and a total-evidence phylogeny of lutrines', Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 39-65.
Chen, HY, Yarnal, C, Chick, G & Jablonski, N 2018, 'Egg White or Sun-Kissed: A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Skin Color and Women’s Leisure Behavior', Sex Roles, vol. 78, no. 3-4, pp. 255-271.
Jones, P, Lucock, M, Veysey, M, Jablonski, N, Chaplin, G & Beckett, E 2018, 'Frequency of folate-related polymorphisms varies by skin pigmentation', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 30, no. 2, e23079.
Jablonski, NG 2017, 'Genes for the high life: New genetic variants point to positive selection for high altitude hypoxia in Tibetans', Zoological research, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 117.
Robinson, JK, Penedo, FJ, Hay, JL & Jablonski, NG 2017, 'Recognizing Latinos’ range of skin pigment and phototypes to enhance skin cancer prevention', Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 488-492.
Cuthill, IC, Allen, WL, Arbuckle, K, Caspers, B, Chaplin, G, Hauber, ME, Hill, GE, Jablonski, NG, Jiggins, CD, Kelber, A, Mappes, J, Marshall, J, Merrill, R, Osorio, D, Prum, R, Roberts, NW, Roulin, A, Rowland, HM, Sherratt, TN, Skelhorn, J, Speed, MP, Stevens, M, Stoddard, MC, Stuart-Fox, D, Talas, L, Tibbetts, E & Caro, T 2017, 'The biology of color', Science, vol. 357, no. 6350, eaan0221.
Jablonski, NG & Chaplin, G 2017, 'The colours of humanity: The evolution of pigmentation in the human lineage', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 372, no. 1724, 20160349.
Beckett, EL, Jones, P, Veysey, M, Duesing, K, Martin, C, Furst, J, Yates, Z, Jablonski, NG, Chaplin, G & Lucock, M 2017, 'VDR gene methylation as a molecular adaption to light exposure: Historic, recent and genetic influences', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 29, no. 5, e23010.

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