Faculty and Students | CFAR | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Faculty and Students


Gretchen R. Dabbs, PhD

Co-founder and Director of the Complex for Forensic Anthropology Research

Dr. Dabbs earned her PhD at the University of Arkansas (2009) and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky (2009-2010) before joining the faculty at Southern Illinois University.  Her research interests in forensic anthropology lie in investigating the rate and pattern of decomposition in the unique southern Illinois environment, as well as replicating common clandestine postmortem treatments to understand the effect of these treatments on the decomposition of bodies and how the individual treatment can be identified after the remains are skeletonized.  Dr. Dabbs also participates in the Bioarchaeology of Tell el-Amarna project (http://amarnaproject.com/), which examines the skeletal remains of the non-elite citizens of Amarna, Egypt, the capital city of Akhenaten during his turbulent reign (c. 1350BCE).  In addition to generating her own research at CFAR and facilitating the research of others, Dr. Dabbs’ is the administrative officer of CFAR, overseeing the donation process and all financial matters.


Christiane Baigent

Christiane Baigent, MSc. received her Master’s degree in Forensic Bioarcheology from University College London; the resultant thesis investigated patterns of taphonomy and periosteal new bone deposition in the perinate skeleton and was jointly awarded the Institute of Archaeology Master's Prize for outstanding dissertation. Her current research includes the effect of altitude on decomposition and concomitant patterns of longitudinal osseous change, the effect of postmortem interval on the presentation of perimortem blunt force trauma, region-specific models and standards for the estimation of postmortem interval, and the development of diagnostic criteria for taphonomic change. Prior to joining CFAR she served as a fulltime research assistant and laboratory manager for the Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) in Grand Junction, Colorado where she assisted federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with the search, recovery, and analysis of human skeletal remains.

Emily Otmanowski

Emily earned her BS from the University of Pittsburgh (2014) in neuroscience and psychology with minors in chemistry and anthropology. She is currently at Southern Illinois University working toward a Master’s in biological anthropology with a focus in forensics. Emily’s research interests include recovery, identification and trauma analysis of commingled skeletal remains following incidences of mass fatality as well as taphonomy of commingled remains (particularly how post-mortem interval estimation can be affected by commingling).

Maria Panakhyo

Maria earned her Master’s from the University of Alabama (2013) where her research focused on the methods for addressing commingled skeletal material and Copena mortuary practices. In line with her Master’s thesis work, Maria’s forensic research interests include the taphonomic and spatial changes that occur in the burial of multiple individuals within confined spaces. Maria’s doctoral research focuses on how economic changes affect the presence of stress indicators in a modern Thai skeletal collection.