Dong Soon Shin graduated from medical school in South Korea, trained as anatomist in graduate school, and currently studies paleopathology and biological anthropology as a professor in Seoul National University, South Korea. Over the years, his research interest has been mainly focused upon acquiring the scientific information of pre-modern people’s health and disease status in history.
Using research tools ranging from anatomical, histological techniques to various biochemical analyses, he has worked to reveal the changing patterns of physical or pathological traits of our ancestors at each stage throughout human history. His topics of study include the paleopathological work on ancient bones and research of viral, bacterial, or helminthic pathogens in archaeological human specimens. The studies were fruitful in that a vivid glimpse of the pre-modern people’s lives could be successfully restored, and thus, their actual health status and disease pattern were interpreted in more detail from medical as well as sociocultural perspectives. In order to obtain more successful outcomes of his research, his team is not only performing laboratory practices, but is also actively joining in fieldwork with archaeologists to investigate ancient graves or cemeteries worldwide. Studies are currently underway at archaeological sites in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, broadening the geographical range of research to enrich our understanding of human diseases in the past.