The term "Applied Anatomical Research" describes the majority of research conducted at the Applied Anatomical Research Center.

  • We conduct research that can be applied and will be useful to the medical, science and judicial communities.
  • We teach our graduate and undergraduate students how to conduct quality research and to present and publish it.
  • We encourage and participate in interdisciplinary studies as well as support and collaborate on research with other Universities such as Texas A & M, Louisiana State, and the University of Houston.
  • With suggestions from law enforcement officials, and medical professionals we simulate scenarios that they have come across in their line of work to help them understand how events might have occurred.

Selection of Recent Publications

Joan A. Bytheway, Nichole Miller, Haeli Kennedy, West Ryan. Fracture Pattern of Inflicted Blunt Force Trauma to Mandibles of Human Cadavers. Submitted Journal of Forensic Anthropology, FORANT 2018-050. November 2018

Michelle Harrel, David Gangitano and Sheree Hughes-Stamm. The Effects of Extra PCR Cycles When Amplifying Skeletal Samples with the GlobalFlier PCR Amplification Kit. International Journal of Legal Medicine, epub ahead of print DOI: 10.1007/s00414-018-1860-2 (May 2018).

Daniel J. Wescott, Dawnie Steadman, Nichole Miller, Kelly Sauerwein, M.J. Chaunesey, B. A. Clemmons, Devora S. Gleiber, Chloe P. McDaneld, Lauren A. Meckel, Joan A. Bytheway. Validation of the Total Body Score/Accumulated Degree Day Model at Three Human Decomposition Facilities. Journal of Forensic Anthropology. Early View, DOI:

Belk A., Xu Z.Z., Carter D.O., Lynne A.M., Bucheli S.R., Knight R. And Metcalf J.L. 2018. Microbiome Data Accurately Predicts the Postmortem Interval Using Random Forest Regression Models. Genes 9(2):104

Hyde Embriette R, Metcalf J.L., Bucheli, S.R., Lynne A.M., and Knight, R. 2017. Microbial Communities to Associated with Decomposing Corpses. In: Forensic Microbiology. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Bucheli, S.R. and Lynne, A.M. 2016. The Microbiome of Human Decomposition: Studying microbial communities involved at every stage of cadaver decomposition is leading to a more precise understanding of the overall process. Microbe 11(4):165-171

Gretchen R. Dabbs, Joan A. Bytheway, Melissa Connor. Comparing the Scoring of Human Decomposition from Digital Images to Scoring Using On-site Observations. Journal of Forensic Sciences. September 2017 62(5):1292-1296

Gretchen R. Dabbs, Melissa Connor, Joan A. Bytheway, Interobserver reliability of the total body score system for quantifying human decomposition Journal of Forensic Sciences. March 2016 Vol.61 No.2, p445-451

J. A. Aitkenhead-Peterson, J. P. Fanche2, M. B. Alexander M. Hamilton, J. A. Bytheway and D. J. Wescott. Application of soil in forensic science: residual odor and human remains detection dogs. Forensic Science International. April 2015 249:304-313

Joan A. Bytheway, Melissa Connor, Gretchen R. Dabbs, Cheryl A. Johnston, Michelle Sunkel. The ethics and best practices of human decomposition facilities in the United States.Forensic Science Policy & Management. 2015 Vol.6 Issue 3/4, p59-68

Jacqueline A. Aitkenhead-Peterson, Michael B. Alexander, Joan A. Bytheway, David O. Carter, and Daniel J. Wescott Chapter 23: Applications of soil chemistry in forensic entomology in forensic entomology: International Dimensions and Frontiers, CRC Press

Joan A. Bytheway, Nicole C. Larison, Ann H. Ross. Comparison of atypical and normal burn patterns of human remains and recognition of pre-cremation blunt force trauma. Earth and Environmental Science – Anthropology Online. ISSN 2332-0915 November 13, 2014

Jeffrey R. Wozniak, Monte L. Thies, Joan A. Bytheway, William I. Lutterschmidt. A hydrologic retention system and water quality monitoring program for a human decomposition research facility: concept and design. Journal of Forensic Sciences Jan 2015 60(1):54-60

Metcalf, J.L., Xu, Z.Z., Weiss, S., Lax, S., Van Treuren, W., Hyde, E.R., Song, S.J., Amir, A., Laresen, P., Sangwan, N., Haarmann, D.P., Humphrey, G.C., Ackerman, G., Thompson, L.R., Lauber, C., Bibat, A., Nicholas, C., Gebert, M.J., Petrosino, J.F., Reed, S.C., Gilbert, J.A., Lynne A.M., Bucheli, S.R., Carter, D.O, And Knight, R. 2015. A Universal Clock for Estimating the Postmortem Interval. Science. DOI 10.1126/science.aad2646

Lindgren, N.K., M.S. Sisson, A.D. Archambeault, B.C. Rahlwes, J.R. Willett, And S.R. Bucheli. 2015. Four Forensic Entomology Case Studies: Records and Behavioral Observations on Seldom Reported Cadaver Fauna With Notes on Relevant Previous Occurrences and Ecology. Journal of Medical Entomology. DOI:

Bytheway, JA and SM Pustilnik “Glycoproteinous adhesion deposits by Balanus improvisus on human skeletal and dental remains: A case report” J Forensic Sci Jan 2013

JA Aitkenhead-Peterson, CG Owings, MB Alexander, N Larison, JA Bytheway “Mapping the extent of human cadaver decomposition islands with soil chemistry” For Sci Int October 2011 online

Rippley A, NC Larison, KE Moss, JD Kelly, JA Bytheway, “Scavenging Behavior of Lynx rufus on Human Remains during the Winter Months of Southeast Texas” J Forensic Sci. March 2012

Lindgren NK, J Kelly, AD Archambeault, S Bucheli, JA Bytheway “Exclusion of forensically important flies due to burying behavior by the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in southeast Texas” For Sci Int. June 2010 online.

Lindgren, N.K., S.R. Bucheli, A.D. Archambeault, B.C. Rahlwes and J.R. Willett. Four forensic entomology case studies: behavioral observations on seldom reported cadaver fauna with notes on relevant previous occurrences and ecology. (Submitted to Forensic Science International: 17 Aug 2012)

Rippley AD, Yu CC, Bytheway JA. Examination of postmortem hair banding [Capstone Research Project]. College of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science Program, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville (TX), 2012.

Research Opportunities

AARC is dedicated to providing research opportunities for national and international investigators pursuing medical or scientific research. Research can be conducted in the Outdoor Research laboratory, the Anthropology laboratory, or the Soft Tissue and Skeletal Trauma laboratory.

Researchers interested in AARC as a research source, can contact the AARC Director, Dr. Joan Bytheway via e-mail or, phone 936-294-2310 or 936-294-4814, or fax 936-294-2311.

To submit a proposal, please contact us.

While at AARC researchers must:

  • Adhere to all safety procedures
  • Adhere to all AARC ethics and codes of conduct
  • Acknowledge AARC in any presentations or publications produced as a result of data collected at AARC
  • Provide AARC with poster copies or reprint copies of published articles
  • Please contact AARC if you have inquiries concerning our research.