Themes: Applied forensic anthropology; trauma, cremated human remains; human identification problems, bone curatorial issues. Current research: bone diagenesis, including fungal, heat and traumatic damage.
Unidentified Human Remains Project (2015-present)
As a coordinated project between the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and RCMP, all the outstanding human remains cases in the province of Alberta are being reviewed and CPIC Missing persons files are being updated with additional information. One aspect of this project has been the production of 3D digital files to enable facial reconstructions in the future.
Biofilm Growth in a Human Skeletal Collection: Challenging current Museum Standards (2009 – present)
This project is a long term study on biofilm growth in bone tissue under differing museum/laboratory storage conditions.
Bone Biodeterioration (2009 to present)
Dr. Pitre and I are continuing to examine the presence, development, and description of biofilm as identified for the first time in human archaeological bone.
Comparative Histology of Burned Mammals (2012 – present)
Horocholyn, Pointer and I are looking at how bone histology is affected by heat in four mammals. The goal is to assess the viability of methods designed to distinguish between the species when unburned, when applied to cremated bone. Cow, Pig, Deer, and Human tissue is compared at 600C, 800C, and 1000C.
A New Method for Transporting and Storing Fragmentary Human Remains (2012 – present)
Sawchuk, Willoughby and I have initiated a 10yr experiment testing a method of storing human remains which may limit biofilm growth (fungal or bacterial) in a collection stored in Africa.
Examination of Pre-cremation Trauma in Cremated Bone (1989 – 1997)
This research assessed the ability to identify traumatic (peri-mortem) fractures in burned bone tissue. Research results produced 1) way to describe the amount of cremation viewed in the remains, 2) a description of the heat fractures identified in the animal model at various temperatures, 3) the conclusion that traumatic fractures can be identified at lower temperatures, but when fragmentation and calcination have progressed, there is a reduced chance of identifying pre-cremation trauma.