Oladuni Tina Rissicat Lasisi
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationPennsylvania State U.
Grant numberGr. 9911
Approve DateOctober 25, 2019
Project TitleLasisi, Oladuni Tina (Pennsylvania State U.) "Investigating the thermoregulatory function, genetic architecture, and evolutionary history of human scalp hair morphology"
TINA LASISI, then a graduate student at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded funding in October 2019 to aid research on ‘Investigating the thermoregulatory function, genetic architecture, and evolutionary history of human scalp hair morphology,’ supervised by Dr. Nina Grace Jablonski. The goal of the study was to better understand how and why human scalp hair varies in form. This work included the creation of new quantitative methods for phenotyping hair, analyses of genetic variation linked with hair form, and experimental research on heat transfer in relation to scalp hair. This research developed a Python package for the automated analysis of hair fiber images and laboratory protocols for preparing hair samples. These newly developed hair phenotyping methods were used to analyze previously collected hair samples in order to study the genetic loci related to hair. Lastly, this project carried out a novel experimental study on the effect of scalp hair morphology on heat transfer. The study found that hair on the scalp helps to reduce heat gain from solar radiation, in particular, if it is tightly curled. This grant-funded research has allowed the grantee to explore an understudied and often racialized aspect of human biology. This work has shaped many of her science communication efforts, and she continues to share her findings and knowledge of human evolutionary biology through various public and social media outlets.