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The University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee College of Arts and Sciences

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Faculty and Staff

Meet the people involved with teaching, practicing, and researching forensic anthropology at The University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Dr. Dawnie Wolfe Steadman, DABFA

Dr. Steadman is the Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center and Professor of Anthropology. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and has been a professor at Iowa State University and Binghamton University, SUNY. She is Diplomate (#72) of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Her research interests lie in forensic anthropology, bioarcheology and human rights investigations. Her primary role as Director of the FAC is to generate and facilitate research, particularly novel technological applications, utilizing the FAC resources, including the Bass Donated Skeletal Collection and the Anthropology Research Facility.

Dr. William M. Bass, DABFA

Founder of the Forensic Anthropology Center, Professor Emeritus. Dr. Bass is involved in research related to determining the length of time since death. He serves as the Tennessee State Forensic Anthropologist and is active in consultations and lectures across the country.

Dr. Richard L. Jantz

Director Emeritus of Forensic Anthropology Center, Professor Emeritus Dr. Jantz conducts research in the areas of human variation, skeletal biology and forensic anthropology. He is primarily concerned with developing computerized data bases in these areas which can be used to address a variety of research questions. Inquiries regarding custom discriminant functions can be directed by email to Dr. Jantz.

Dr. Lee Meadows Jantz

Adjunct Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center, Dr. Meadows Jantz is responsible for the Body Donation program and curation of the William M. Bass Donated and Forensic skeletal collections. Research interests include skeletal biology (past and recent populations), forensic anthropology, and human growth and development.

Dr. Joanne Devlin

Assistant Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center, Joanne B. Devlin, Ph.D. received her BA in Anthropology, with a specialization in archaeology from Hamilton College (New York). She earned her MA and Ph.D. from The University of Tennessee, where she currently is a lecturer in the Anthropology Department. She is also a firefighter/arson investigator in Knox County. Her interests include forensic anthropology, taphonomy, and archaeology.

Dr. Giovanna Vidoli

Dr. Vidoli is an Assistant Research Professor and Assistant Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center. She is responsible for coordinating the FAC short courses and expanding research initiatives at the ARF and FAC. Her research areas include mass fatality identifications, international human rights investigations, and population genetics.

Dr. Walter E. Klippel

Professor. Dr. Klippel conducts research with animal remains in historic and archaeological contexts. His interests include the identification and taphonomy of the vertebrate skeleton as well as morphological and size variability in domestic animal breeds. He is the curator of the large comparative zoological collection held by the Anthropology Department, which is used both in the identification of nonhuman remains found in forensic contexts and in ongoing taphonomic research.

Dr. Amy Mundorff

Amy Z. Mundorff, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The University of Tennessee. Prior to academics, Dr. Mundroff was the Forensic Anthropologist for the City of New York (1999-2004). Areas of interest include forensic anthropology, disaster victim identification, and mass fatality management.

Dr. Graciela Cabana

Dr. Cabana specializes in Molecular Anthropology (a.k.a. anthropological genetics) with expertise in the handling of severely degraded DNA. Her academic research explores how behavioral, morphological, and genetic phenomena intersect to explore current past and present human demography. She is particularly interested in the development of methodologies to enhance interpretative power, including theoretical modeling and computer simulation. Dr. Cabana is also the Director of UTK’s Molecular Anthropology Laboratories, which includes a clean room laboratory dedicated to forensic genetic research.

Dr. Benjamin Auerbach

Dr. Auerbach's training is in functional anatomy, evolutionary biology, and statistical theory, in addition to specializations in skeletal biology and archaeology of the Americas. His research focuses on human morphological variation in relation to environmental factors. He is actively involved in refining methods for estimating dimensions for individuals, including body mass, stature, and metric measurements of bones, which are further analyzed to understand how these differ among human populations.


Collaborative Researchers

Sean Schaeffer, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. Dr. Schaeffer joined the faculty in 2012 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Relevant research interests include soil biochemical and microbial dynamcis associated with cadaver decomposition, and the use of stable isotope tracers.

Jennifer DeBruyn, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science. Research interests include microbial ecology and the role of microbes in decomposition.

Dr. Natalie Shirley, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology with The University of Tennessee. Her interests include skeletal maturation, secular change, age and sex estimation, modern human skeletal variation, geometric morphometric methods, Bayesian statistics, integrity and currency of forensic standards.

Dr. Chris Boehnen, Research and Development Staff Member - Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Dr. Boehnen is Joint Faculty with the Department of Anthropology and works primarily at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is the Biometrics and Forensics Program Manager at ORNL and his areas of research interests include biometrics, computer vision, biometric viability after death, child pornography detection, and more.

Dr. J. Randall Pearce, D.D.S. General Dentistry, Morristown TN. Research interests: Forensic odontology, personal identification, aesthetic restoration.

Dr. William F. McCormick, Ph.D. Forensic Pathologist, Retired. Research interests: Non-metric variables, specific human decay rates (chemical, microscopic, and gross changes), age and sex related changes.

Dr. Arpad Vass, Ph.D. Research Scientist. Research interests: Developing technology to determine the post-mortem interval, locate clandestine graves and evaluate chemical markers associated with human decomposition.

Joanna Hughes - Forensic Artist, Knoxville, TN. Website: Joanna J. Hughes

Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Pathology with The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine. She is also the chief medical examiner for Knox County. Her interests include Forensic Pathology and child abuse.

Dr. Ralph Williams, Purdue University. Ralph Williams, Ph.D., is a Diplomat with the American Board of Forensic Entomology and a full professor of entomology at Purdue University. He is also an adjunct professor at The University of Tennessee Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. He has extensive publications in forensic entomology and scene processing techniques. He consults with the agricultural industry and law enforcement on regular basis.


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Contact Information

Forensic Anthropology Center
Department of Anthropology

250 South Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN USA

Phone: 865-974-4408

Fax: 865-974-2686