Prof Ian Barnes

Research leader and ancient DNA specialist

Prof Ian Barnes is a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum, where he focuses on the investigation of ancient biomolecules to resolve questions in archaeology, palaeontology and evolutionary biology. He has degrees in Archaeological Science (from Bradford) and Molecular Ecology (from York) and for the last 20 years he has been heavily involved in the development of ancient DNA. For much of that time, he has investigated the histories of living and extinct species in the Holarctic – a region from Europe across Asia into North America – between 100 and 10 thousand years ago. Recently, his major focus has been on the role of adaptation and migration in the human settlement of the British Isles.

If you could change one thing about the world through your work, what would it be?

I think most people really struggle to grasp long periods of time, and the extent to which things – geology, species, people – can change. If we could help people to develop a sense of the depth of time, to understand what events are rare, which are common, the pace of change, then they could see what’s unusual about the present day.

We are beyond borders

“I wasn’t expecting to feel so emotional today about real life stories. It was very, very powerful. Just get out there and talk to people. Get out of your comfort zone. Be more generous.”

– TEDxLondonSalon attendee

Favourite TED Talk:

Beth Shapiro
Ancient DNA – What it is and what it could be

Meet the TEDxLondon speakers

Peter Drobac

Global health physician, social entrepreneur and Co-Founder of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda

Omar Khan

Director of Runnymede and social justice advocate

London School of Bollywood

Bollywood dance team

Emmanuel Speaks

Performance poet, storyteller and musician

Alex Lloyd

OPENx winner, youth justice activist and rock climber

Laura Caccia

OPENx winner, AI researcher and outdoor swimmer

Jamala Osman

OPENx winner, former bank manager and social entrepreneur

Akashi Alam

OPENx winner, medical student and chicken shop enthusiast
Will Young and Christopher Sweeney

Will Young and Christopher Sweeney

Creators of the Homo Sapiens podcast

Grace Savage

Champion beatboxer, artist, actress and dog lover

Winnie M Li

Author, activist, Co-Founder of Clear Lines Festival and PhD researcher

Leng Montgomery

LGBT and trans activist, diversity and inclusion specialist and keen amateur chef

Prof Ian Barnes

Research leader and ancient DNA specialist

Dr Eugenia Cheng

Mathematician, concert pianist and scientist in residence

Andy Coxall

Social anthropologist, youth mentor and youth leadership advocate

Prof Martin Cowie

Professor of Cardiology, Consultant Cardiologist and travel lover

Simon Bucknall

Public speaking expert, executive speaker coach and fan of historical fiction

Justice 4 Grenfell

Campaigners and community activists Yvette, Moyra and Tasha

Prof David Rothery

Professor of Planetary Geosciences and part of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury

Dr Julia Shaw

Psychological scientist, science author and co-founder of Spot