Luke has a background in biochemistry and archaeology, having a BSc in biochemistry York and an MSc in archaeology from the University of Liverpool. He has carried out MALDI-based dissertations at both bachelors and masters level, having studied glycoproteins as biomarkers for disease for his undergraduate and ancient proteomics for species identification during his masters.
His research interest is in ancient biomolecules, primarily focusing on proteins. While still working on ZooMS on a variety of material, including bone, leather, and coprolites, he is also learning to carry out isotopic analysis on human bone collagen.
Luke is part of the ‘Codex’ project, ‘Decoding domesticate DNA in archaeological bone and manuscripts’, which will use state-of-the-art genetic tools to build up a ‘DNA data matrix’ of domestic animals over the last 10,000 years. The matrix could help identify key genetic changes that accompany domestication and subsequent animal management strategies. Genes should vary without major irregularities over space and time. But when they do not, such discontinuities in the matrix will highlight points of strong historical interest such as periods of economic turbulence − perhaps driven by climate fluctuations or plagues. The work should also give insights of value to modern farming, disease control and animal productivity. Luke is working with Professor Matthew Collins and his role is to conduct the ZooMS analyses for this project - a method to identify the animal origin of bones and other collagenous materials using soft-ionization mass-spectrometry.