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Biocultural Research

A group of individuals engaged in research in biocultural anthropology are shown sitting at a table

At UWF, faculty and students from the subdisciplines of biological and cultural anthropology work together closely. In our shared Biocultural Research Laboratory, students of bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, and medical anthropology collaborate on research projects that are richly theorized with the literature of these complementary subdisciplines.

An individual in a white baseball cap and a blue shirt is shown working on isotope analysis

Specifically, Biocultural Research projects often investigate the social and structural determinants of health in both past and present populations. In 2022, our faculty received a Wenner-Gren Foundation grant to support our research on a modern forensic sample of documented and anonymized CT images, which will allow us to investigate whether skeletal and dental biomarkers of stress correlate with lived experiences of social inequity in US groups that have been systematically marginalized. We are delighted that this grant will support two of our graduate student collaborators

Individuals are shown working on a digital skeletal element on a computer
A group of individuals are gathered consulting with two more individuals working on a computer

Prospective MA students interested in this holistic research group are encouraged to reach out directly to Drs. Marten, Miller Wolf, and Winburn. Recent publications produced by this research group are highlighted below.

a group of hands are show examining several sets of teeth

UWF Biocultural Lab: Working Documents


The linked Radiograph Guide is intended to enable data collection of SVP (Structural Vulnerability Profile) traits. The biomarker categories listed within the Guide correspond with the UWF Biocultural Lab’s SVP data-collection spreadsheets, and the numbered subcategories correspond with traits scored per our data-collection protocol. Please contact Biocultural Lab faculty if you wish to share our data-collection sheets. We are excited to make SVP data collection accessible and replicable!

Selected Publications by the UWF Biocultural Lab

Kim, J. J., Winburn, A. P., Moore, M. K., & Scott, H. (2023). Adapting forensic case reporting to account for marginalization and vulnerability. Forensic Science International: Synergy, 100436.

Marten, Meredith G., Allysha P. Winburn, Benjamin R. Burgen, Spencer K. Seymour, and Taylor Walkup (2023) What Makes a “Good” Forensic Anthropologist? American Anthropologist 125:582-596. .

Marten, Meredith G. (2022). The Countersyndemic Potential of Medical Pluralism among People Living with HIV in Tanzania. Global Public Health 17(6): 957-970. DOI 10.1080/17441692.2021.1882529

Miller Wolf, Katherine A., Allysha P. Winburn, Meredith G. Marten, Emily Romdenne, Aliana Schwartz, K. Kirk. (2023) Modeling Embodied Social Inequity from Skeletal and Dental Tissues:  Presenting the Structural Vulnerability Profile (SVP) and Trait List. Poster presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Biological Anthropologists (Reno, NV).

Walkup, Taylor N.,  Allysha P. Winburn, and Michala K. Stock (2023) Antemortem Tooth Loss as a Biomarker of Poverty: Dental Evidence of “Weathering” in a Contemporary U.S. Skeletal Sample. Forensic Science International: Synergy 6:100333. DOI 10.1016/j. fsisyn.2023.100333

Winburn, Allysha P., Antaya Jennings, Dawnie W. Steadman, and Elizabeth A. DiGangi (2022). Ancestral Diversity in Skeletal Collections: Perspectives on African American Body Donation. Forensic Anthropology 5, no. 2: 141–52. DOI 10.5744/fa.2020.1023

Winburn, Allysha P., Meredith G. Marten, Taylor Walkup, Enrique Plasencia, and Allison Hutson (2022). Theorizing Social Marginalization for Forensic Anthropology: Insights from Medical Anthropology and Social Epidemiology. In: Byrnes, J. F. & Sandoval-Cervantes, I., editors. The Marginalized in Death: A Forensic Anthropology of Intersectional Identity in the Modern Era. Lexington Books. p. 121-149. Available here

Winburn, Allysha P., Katherine A. Miller Wolf, and Meredith G. Marten (2022) Operationalizing a Structural Vulnerability Profile for Forensic Anthropology: Skeletal and Dental Biomarkers of Embodied Inequity. Forensic Science International: Synergy Special Issue on Structural Vulnerability. DOI 10.1016/j.fsisyn.2022.100289 

Winburn, Allysha P., Michala K. Stock, and An-Di Yim (2022) Recentering Forensic Anthropology within a Multifaceted Body of Evolutionary Theory:  Strengthening Method by Making Theory Explicit. American Journal of Biological Anthropology 179:535-551. DOI 10.1016/j.fsisyn.2022.100289

Znachko, Caroline L., Allysha P. Winburn, Meredith Frame, Sarah Maines (2023) Operationalizing the Structural Vulnerability Profile within the Medical Examiner Context. Forensic Science International: Synergy 6: 100334. DOI 10.1016/j. fsisyn.2023.100334