JUNO, Roman Goddess, protector of children, was said to strengthen their bones.

The Juvenile Osteology Group - JUNO, is my research lab group which focuses broadly on studying the interactions between the juvenile human skeleton and its genetic and ontogenetic environment, encompassing all biocultural processes and responses in life, death and after death, to better understand and explain past events and change at the individual or population level. This includes clarifying the complex interconnections between culture, identity, nutrition, socioeconomic status or climate and life-history transitions, injury, disease patterns or taphonomic processes inscribed in children’s bones and teeth, recovered from forensic, archaeological or paleontological contexts. My students in the JUNO group work on a variety of topics under the following broad themes:

  • The ontogenetic environment for dental and skeletal growth, applied to the development of theory and methods of osteological analysis in bioarchaeology and forensics.
  • Growth, stress and disease patterns observed in children from archaeological populations, which a focus on  the transition to and from the Islamic occupation period in Iberia.
  • Issues with diagnosing and interpreting child trauma from archaeological and forensic contexts.
  • Taphonomic and post-mortem aspects of immature bone.

At the moment, I am supervising four PhD students, Marianna Cervantes, Elena Sierra and Tabasom Ilkhan. Marianna, is carrying out a critical analysis of ancestry-related traits in children, their expression relative craniofacial growth, stress, and marginalization. Elena is exploring and developing new morphological and more inclusive approaches for adult age estimation. Tabasom is interested in the impact of political, economic and social changes on Iranian Bronze and Iron Age populations from an auxological perspective.

I am also supervising three MA students, Deanna Smith, Carmen Kors, and Cathy Tran. Deanna is working on dental age estimation methods for application in human rights violations investigations. Carmen Kors is examining the impact of social, economic, and political change on the linear and appositional growth of Medieval Islamic and Christian children from Portugal. Cathy is exploring the potential of non-invasive ancient DNA and forensic anthropology methods to identify buried individuals for humanitarian purposes.

In addition, I am co-supervising PhD student Katherine Nichols (with Dr. Eldon Yellowhor, Dr. Deanna Reader, and Dr. Dongya Yang), from the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, whose research focuses on forensic search and recovery methods, and is investigating unmarked graves at the Brandon Indian Residential School in Manitoba in collaboration with Indigenous communities.

Lastly, I am supervising Nicola Murray, who is an undergraduate research assistant and is helping me in developing a number of projects that rely on 3D scanning and processing, and analysis of growth data.

I have supervised or co-supervised over 40 post-doc, graduate and undergraduate students over the last 15+ years. More about them here soon.

I am NOT taking on new graduate students, until September of 2026.