Ayla Schwartz has contributed greatly to research activities in the MSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory directed by Dr. Gabriel Wrobel. With majors in Anthropology and Neuroscience and a minor in Environment and Health, Schwartz’s interests within bioarchaeology include skeletal indicators of stress, and digital imaging and 3D modeling of artifacts and human skeletal remains.
During her undergraduate career, Schwartz was engaged in several projects in the MSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Wrobel. Her primary research endeavors have focused on investigating lines of increased bone density, referred to as Harris lines, seen in the ends of long bones with computed tomography (CT). Visible only in CTs and X-rays, Harris lines are traditionally considered to be signs of growth interruption and interpreted as signs of stress from juvenile malnutrition, disease, or trauma. In collaboration with the MSU Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering, Schwartz learned how to work with CTs and explored the three-dimensional topography of Harris lines within long bones. By better understanding the morphology and manifestation of Harris lines, Schwartz seeks to contribute to how they are analyzed and interpreted when observed in skeletal remains. Schwartz received a College of Social Science Provost Undergraduate Research Initiative (PURI) Grant for this project, presented her research at several research symposia on campus, and is currently publishing her findings.
After graduating with high honors this past spring, Schwartz will focus on several pursuits this year as she continues working with Dr. Wrobel in the MSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory. In addition to furthering her research, she will obtain her Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certification and prepare for graduate school with the aim of earning a graduate degree in bioarchaeology.
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