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Dr. Eng Ken Khong

B.Sc. (Hons) Forensic Science (Universiti Sains Malaysia) 2004
M.A. Archaeology (Universiti Sains Malaysia) 2009
Ph.D. Biology (University of Leeds) 2014
Tel: 04 653 6347
Building: B15
Research Interests:
Phylogeography, Orang Asli, mitochondrial DNA, phylogenetics, prehistoric human movements, human burial, physical anthropology, ancient DNA.


I studied Forensic Science for my first degree in Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2000-2004. I then worked in Hospital Ipoh and Hospital Pulau Pinang as a Forensic Science Officer between 2004 – 2009. In 2009, I received my Master's degree in Archaeology from USM, and I completed PhD in Biology from the University of Leeds in 2014. I have since been working at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR), Universiti Sains Malaysia.

At CGAR, I teach topics on prehistoric human burial, palaeoanthropology, sampling method and basic statistics for undergraduates. I am co-supervising one master’s student and three PhD students. My main research interest is led by my PhD work in archaeogenetics, where I studied the prehistoric human movements and settlements in the region of Southeast Asia and beyond by the means of molecular genetics. The study of archaeogenetics is made possible by using a uniparental marker that we inherit from our mothers, i.e. mitochondrial DNA. Hence, we could learn a great deal by looking at a sample of population from a particular region, which is otherwise loss due to the passing of our ancestors. My research interests include phylogeography, Orang Asli, mitochondrial DNA, phylogenetics, prehistoric human movements, human burial, physical anthropology, ancient DNA.


Journal Articles

  1. Brandäo, A., Eng, K. K., Rito, T., Cavadas, B., Bulbeck, D., Gandini, F., Pala, M., Mormina, M., Hudson, B., White J., Ko, T.-M., Saidin, M., Zafarina, Z., Oppenheimer, S., Richards, M. B., Pereira, L. & Soares, P. 2016. Quantifying the legacy of the Chinese Neolithic on the maternal genetic heritage of Taiwan and Island Southeast Asia. Hum Genet, 1-14. PDF: here.
  2. Soares, P. A., Trejaut, J. A., Rito, T., Cavadas, B., Hill, C., Eng, K. K., Mormina, M., Brandäo, A., Fraser, R. M., Wang, T.-Y., Loo, J.-H., Snell, C., Ko, T.-M., Amorim, A., Pala, M., Macaulay, V., Bulbeck, D., Wilson, J. F., Gusmäo, L., Pereira, L., Oppenheimer, S., Lin, M. & Richards, M. B. 2016. Resolving the ancestry of Austronesian-speaking populations. Hum Genet, 135, 309-326. PDF: here.
  3. Costa, M. D., Pereira, J. B., Pala, M., Fernandes, V., Olivieri, A., Achilli, A., Perego, U. A., Rychkov, S., Naumova, O., Hatina, J., Woodward, S. R., Eng, K. K., Macaulay, V., Carr, M., Soares, P., Pereira, L. & Richards, M. B. 2013. A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages. Nat Commun, 4, 2543. PDF: here.

Book Chapters

  1. Eng, K.K. & Chia, S. 2010. Pengkebumian Zaman Prasejarah Akhir di Bukit Kamiri, Semporna, Sabah. In: Mokhtar, S. & Chia, S. (eds) Archaeological Heritage of Malaysia Vol. 3. Penang: Penerbit Pusat Penyelidikan Arkeologi Malaysia, 44-58.
  2. Eng, K.K. & Chia, S. 2009. Palaeoanthropological examination of human skeletal remains from Kota Melaka, Malaysia. In: Mokhtar, S. & Chia, S. (eds) Archaeological Heritage of Malaysia Vol. 2. Penang: Penerbit Pusat Penyelidikan Arkeologi Malaysia, 1-15.



  1. Complete mitogenome variants of aboriginal people in Sabah FRGS (09/2019 onwards):
Vacancy for one MA/PhD by research available.
We are looking for a highly motivated postgraduate student to study the complete mitogenome variants of aboriginal people in Sabah.
Preference will be given to applicant with a bachelor's degree in biology, archaeological science, phylogenetics or any other related field, with a minimum CGPA above 3.0. Candidates shall have good command in English proficiency (MUET, IELTS or TOEFL) and show strong interest in archaeology, phylogenetics and human origin studies. The candidates have to be passionate about research, self-motivated, goal-driven and able to work independently. Monthly stipend for one is available. We also welcome applications from students who gain scholarships or wish to self-fund their studies.
Appointment period: Full time 24 months
Commencement date: Now until filled
For more information, please contact Dr Eng KK (kkeng@usm.my) with your CV, please include a list of publications and conference presentation (if any), or undergraduate research project report. Successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.
2. Phylogeography Study of Indigenous People in Sabah. USM Short Term Grant (09/2015 - 08/2017).



Teaching & Learning:

1) UAW 101/4 – Introduction to Archaeology

Lecture topic:

a) Prehistoric Burial

b) Prehistoric Diet

2) UAW 201/4 – Ascent of Man and Civilisation

Lecture topic:

a) Early Hominin Evolution

3) UAW 302/4 – Science in Archaeology

Lecture topic:

a) Palaeoanthropology

b) Sampling and Statistical Analysis

4). UAW 303/4 – Southeast Asian Archaeology

Lecture topic:

a) Early Hominids in Southeast Asia

5) UAW 304/4 – Archaeological Excavation

Lecture topic:

a) Excavation of Human Skeletal Remains


Completed PhD:

  1. Meljev Singh Sidhu a/l Sarjit Singh – Buildings Materials and Architectural Styles in the Bujang Valley, 17/09/2013 – 31/08/2018
  2. Zainuddin Baco – Pengurusan Warisan Kebudayaan Maritim Semenanjung Malaysia, 01/11/2015 – 31/10/2020
  3. Gan Yee Min – Phylogenetics Study of Aboriginal People in Sabah, 01/06/2016 – 31/05/2020


Completed MA

  1. Chong Siaw Chan - The Ancient Confucian Practice of Ancestral Worship in Peninsular Malaysia, 29/06/2015 – 30/06/2020


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