See Student Interns below
Bioarchaeology & Stable Isotope Research Lab (BSIRL)
Tung’s research lab is known as the Vanderbilt Bioarchaeology Stable Isotope Research Lab (BSIRL). Researchers and students prepare bone and dental samples from humans and animals, as well as plants from various archaeology sites in the Americas, primarily from Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala, where many of our faculty and graduate students conduct research. We prepare bone collagen for carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotope analyses, bone apatite (carbonates) for carbon and oxygen, and dental apatite (carbonates) for carbon and oxygen.
Tung and her students and colleagues are conducting stable isotope analyses of archaeological human and animal samples to address questions about ancient dietary practices (using carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotopes) and migration patterns (using oxygen isotopes). Modern plant (carbon and nitrogen) and water (hydrogen and oxygen) samples are also examined. The oxygen isotope data also aid in reconstructing the climate from the eras to which the human and animal samples belonged.
The stable isotope research is conducted in this lab on the Vanderbilt campus, and much of the macro-skeletal analysis is conducted at field lab sites in Ayacucho and Arequipa, Peru.
2022-23 BSIRL-Tung Lab Undergraduate Team
Lily Baker, 2025. Anthropology and Medicine, Health, & Society. Lily is passionate about public health and anthropology, with a focus on how gender and sexuality impact these fields. She enjoys painting, baking, and playing lacrosse in her free time.
Maya Diaz, 2022 (Anthropology with a minor in environmental and sustainability studies). In addition to her interests in bioarchaeology, she loves learning GIS and plans to pursue a career in sustainable, community-focused urban planning. She is doing an Immersion Project with Dr. Tung, in which she has created activities for 4th graders to learn about skeletal anatomy and bioarchaeology. In Spring 2022, Maya studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark! In her free time, she enjoys playing the cello.
Ralph Francois (2025). Anthropology and Psychology with a minor in Data Science. In his free time, Ralph enjoys napping, watching anime, and psychoanalyzing his friends for fun. Fun fact, Ralph and fellow lab member, Aaron are roommates this year!
Andrea Gutierrez (2024). Anthropology and Biology. Andrea loves using GIS and anything related to osteology and bioarchaeology, especially stable isotope analysis to understand ancient diets and foodways. As part of her anthropological interest in global cuisines, she loves Tiktok food trends and trying new bubble tea shops in her free time. She is excited to excavate in Paris, France this summer as part of a forensic anthropology project.
I’m Aaron Malcolm (2025), and I’m a double major in Human Organizational Development and Anthropology. I’m very passionate about forensic science and I love gaining valuable experience in bioarchaeology and stable isotope analysis. I absolutely loved Intro to Biological Anthropology with Professor Tung (it’s a class you must take!!). I’m a musician; I love to dance, and I’m into thrifting/fashion! My favorite show of all time is Naruto!! Ralph (above) is my roomie!
2021-22 BSIRL-Tung Lab Undergraduate Team
Lindsay Ahlmeyer, 2022 (Anthropology and Classical and Mediterranean Studies). Lindsay enjoys reading, doing crossword puzzles, and cooking. She has been accepted to an MA program in bioarchaeology and several law schools.
Alyssa Bolster, 2022 (Anthropology and Law, History, & Society). She will attend Brown University to earn her PhD in anthropology (bioarchaeology), starting in Fall 2022.
Maya Diaz, 2022 (Anthropology with a minor in Biology). In her free time, she enjoys playing the cello with the Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra. She is now travelling in Europe.
Farrah Hasan, 2022 (Chemistry with a minor in Health Policies and Economies). In her free time, she loves to write and watch Netflix. Fun fact about Farrah: she can speak four languages! She will attend graduate school to earn in her MS in Environmental Science.
2019-2020 & 2020-21 BSIRL-Tung Lab Undergraduate Team
Sophie Stark, 2021 (Anthropology and Studio Art) Sophie enjoys creating sculptures and paintings and lifting weights in her free time.
Katie Radulovack, 2021 (MHS, minor in Creative Writing). Katie is an avid ultimate frisbee player, and she volunteered with Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS), and worked as a Vanderbilt tour guide. She will start medical school at Duke University in Fall 2022.
Maria Seller, 2021 (Anthropology and Biology). She loves to swing dance and care for her chickens. She is now in the MA program in the Dept. of Anthropology at Geroge Mason University.
Lane Chesler, 2021 (Anthropology and Mathematics with a minor in Japanese). She loves to travel and has lived in Japan, India, Austria, and Canada! Lane is also a published author and avid fisherwoman!
Sarah Cole, 2021 (Anthropology with a minor in Spanish). Sarah used to live in England, has traveled to 5 different continents, and has broken 7 different bones–and she still loves osteology! She is applying to medical school.
Alyssa Bolster, 2022 (Anthropology and Law, History, & Society). She loves all things bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology-related, and she has participated in several fieldschools, including an NSF-REU program. Her dorm roommate is a leopard gecko named Poca.
Maya Diaz, 2022 (Anthropology with a minor in Biology). In her free time, she enjoys playing the cello with the Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra.
Farrah Hasan, 2022 (Chemistry with a minor in Health Policies and Economies). In her free time, she loves to write and watch Netflix. Fun fact about Farrah: she can speak four languages!