Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology Lab

The Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology Laboratory, directed by Jennifer Byrnes, is a recently established (2019) research space dedicated to the analysis of modern and historic human remains. Forensic anthropology as a field of study is the application of methods and theory in biological anthropology to questions related to the medicolegal significance of human remains (see NIST Anthropology Subcommittee and American Board of Forensic Anthropology).  Members of the lab assist in consult cases for the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner (CCOCME) under the supervision of the lab director. Assistance includes lab analyses and field recoveries. New research projects include the investigation of the reliability and validity of positive identifications generated from medical imaging, examining issues of public health and structural violence utilizing forensic anthropology case demographics, and paleopathology/trauma analyses from data collected on the Erie County Poorhouse Cemetery (1851-1913). Undergraduate and graduate students interested in participating in any of these research or service endeavors should contact Dr. Byrnes directly to discuss how they can participate as a lab member.

Current PhD Students Affiliated with the Lab

Taylor Flaherty (She/Her) (FAB Lab Manager)

I am a first year PhD student in forensic anthropology with a background in forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology, and musculoskeletal science. My previous research projects have focused on taphonomic effects on sharp force trauma and subchondral bone regeneration following knee injuries. My research aims throughout my PhD are to explore the effects of hormone replacement therapy on skeletal sex indicators in an aim to enhance the identification of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. I am also interested in exploring the use of medical imaging in forensic anthropology identification and research.

Katherine Gaddis

Katie is a bioarchaeologist who is interested in the ways in which individuals and societies have experienced health and disease in the past. She is currently working as a field osteologist for two active medieval bioarchaeology research sites located in Poland. Her recent research has focused on taking an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of skeletal biomarkers of stress in order to form a more comprehensive understanding of frailty in medieval Prussia.

Katharine Woollen

Katharine Woollen

Katharine has a background in both biological and forensic anthropology. Prior to attending UNLV, she worked extensively on Late Woodland period skeletal remains, analyzing trauma patterns and pressure facets to the foot and ankle. Katharine also conducted research on the taphonomic variations that occur when remains are subject to winter weather conditions and cold temperatures. Currently, her PhD project will focus on the health disparities of individuals who lived at county poor farms during the 19th-early 20th centuries. She intends to analyze the skeletal remains from the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery (MCPFC), as well as the archival data from the Erie County Poorhouse Cemetery. This research will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the kinds of structural violence and social injustice faced by this demographic.

Roxayn Povidas

A woman in front of a building.

A second year Bioarchaeology masters student. Researching institutionalized care across multiple industrial revolution era institutions using trauma data and a modified bioarchaeology of care methodology. She is interested in care provisioning and treatment of marginalized individuals within public and private institutions.