About me

Bunny suit

I study the genomes of modern and ancient peoples in order to uncover details of human prehistory. You can learn more about my scientific publications and credentials here and here. I’m also a martial artist, currently training (and occasionally competing) in Muay Thai, boxing, BJJ, and MMA.
This is a blog about my passions: science, conflict, adventure, and interesting people. The name was suggested by Jeff Rabhan. 
Have a question about science that you’d like to ask me? Please feel free to send it using the email link above.
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40 responses to About me


    Muay Thai, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and MMA? Cage fighting. That sounds awesome! You are one bad chica! Keep up those posts!


    Are you related to Rudolf Raff?


    On your Vita page: it should be Principal Fellow, not Principle.


    In a кедровый (tiny) nutshell, what’s your take on ‘The Stoned Ape’ as described by Terrence McKenna, or more recently (and controversially on TEDx!) Graham Hancock?


    How’d you get interested in martial arts?
    If I had my daughter to raise all over again,
    she’d be a mat rat as soon as she could walk.


    I very much enjoy your writing. I have only just found you from another blog. I admire the way you positively take constructive criticism and use it to improve your post.

    I will follow your intelligent and cogent posts with interest.


    This is an excerpt from a weekly “word focused” email newsletter I get. If, by any chance, this word is not already part of your vocabulary, you might want to add it. :-)

    “Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance.”

    The list, World Wide Words, is by Michael Quinion and this is his website address:



    There is a lot of FDA issues running around right now. Here is one of the latest from Hpost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/nuvaring-blood-clots_n_4461429.html. There are many angles to take with these stories, I would love to hear from you any angle you choose to write about on this vast topic(s).


    I found you today because a friend shared your most recent vaccine post. I am so happy to have found you. I look forward to catching up on what I’ve missed, and to seeing more to come. I am not in the scientific field, but consuming information and gaining knowledge is my passion. My interests have turned toward genetics in recent years, due to both familial colon cancer (Lynch has not been confirmed; neither aunt’s samples were tested) and an extremely rare form of spontaneous, recurrent OHSS for myself (suggested that this may be caused by a mutation on the FSHR gene, but testing to confirm is not covered by my insurer, so I wait until I can afford such a test for the sake of my own daughters). Finding your blog about vaccines in my facebook newsfeed this morning and then discovering that your passion for science led you to study genetic history has turned what was otherwise a pretty crappy morning, into a refreshing one.

    Thank you for being you.

    conspiracy nut! April 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    just read your vaccine article. what you said makes some sense but why is my unvaccinated child a threat to a child thats supposed to have the best defense against those deadly diseases? Isn’t that why the child got the vaccine in the first place? To protect the child from the virus? Just asking. Make sure what doing and saying ethical. Im not a religious person but messing with genetics is a slippery slope. You might think your doing the right thing but what are the interests of the people funding your research? Whats their endgame?



    yeah, you are in a lab and just giving and “honest opinion”. yeah, I trust you. LOL


      Anonymous, Wendy: I’m giving an informed opinion BECAUSE I work in a lab and I understand how science works. That article you’re spamming my “About me” page with is pure pseudoscientific nonsense…it doesn’t even link to the study it claims to be reporting on!


    Do you have children?


    my simple question for you- prevention is better than cure but why do most doctors stay in their clinic/hospital and work on just cure. Thomas edison also raised this matter in one of his quotes – ‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.’
    Your response will be well appreciated.


    Your vaccine post is clearly going viral. It is refreshing to read your perspective. What a boost of information for those who are confused about the misinformation! Parents making decisions are scared. It is my hope that those who are making vaccine decisions or choose not to vaccinate will trust science and history over the lies they are told.

    Patrick McDonald April 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I enjoy this page and if its purpose was to bring the rational and irrational in proximity, it has succeeded admirably. I trust the slings and arrows directed at you do not faze you. At my age Wu Style Tai Chi is about all I can muster. I do enjoy bringing my telescope to Sci-Fi and Fantasy Conventions and try and show that factual information can be breathtaking too.


    Where did you get the sick Science club picture with the crossed pipettes?


    Look what popped up! I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this rebuttal. http://www.livingwhole.org/dear-parents-are-you-being-lied-to/
    Why oh why is there such a plethora of information that seems to contradict itself? I sent your article to an anti-vaxxer and she sent this link back.


    Can you email me at David.Crowe@theinfectiousmyth.com so I can set up an interview?


    Hi! I just read your vaccine article, which was really interesting. In one of my psychology classes we went through the horrors surrounding the MMR vaccine and the incredibly flawed study that caused it. I’m currently studying physics, but genetics is horrifically interesting and I look forward to better educating myself and reading more of your blog!


    Do you receive funding from any pharmaceutical companies?


    Dear Jennifer I read your article on Huffpost and really appreciated it.Then I read someone attacking you on Facebook and I replied and defended science against homeopathic medicine instead of vaccination. I was thoroughly attacked for my note.
    They said you are a techinician..:) I said no, you have a mile long REsume and published scientific papers.. . thank you for the article.


      Haha, well, there’s no shame in being a technician. Technicians are incredible and valuable contributors to science, and they don’t get nearly as much credit as they should. I was one about 6 years ago, before I went on to grad school–but you’re right, I’m not one now.
      Thank you, and I’m very sorry about the negativity directed your way.


    In your article http://violentmetaphors.com/2014/03/25/parents-you-are-being-lied-to/
    Can you provide your thoughts on circumcision? After AAP updated their stance and guidance in 2012 it should be something considered a medical benefit. We are fighting the anticirc activists who are providing misinformation and guilt saying that parents are mutilating their children. In fact circumcision has many medical benefits and our tax dollars are being spent in the PEPFAR to help circumcise Africa because of medical needs. Those are clear signs we need to incorporate it into standard care and medical checklists for newborn boys.




Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Readers’s guide for laymen to elaborate to follow? | Scientia Crastina - September 5, 2013

    […] Jennifer Raff – ”Scientist, fighter, reader. In pursuit of the extraordinary.” (and blogger, we must add) – recently wrote a blog post with the title How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists. […]

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