A team of 21 South Korean crime scene investigators and medical students last week excavated and buried human remains, caught insects, and examined human skeletons for trauma as part of a training program at UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center (FAC).
The five-day course broadened the medical students’ understanding of the effects of diseases on bones. It also expanded law enforcement personnel’s knowledge of collecting evidence at crime scenes, said Dae-Kyoon Park, professor at Soonchunhyang University in Asan City, South Korea, and the team’s organizer.
The training included forensic entomology, estimating time since death, and determining the age and sex of a skeleton. During the week, the visitors studied bones from UT’s Bass Donated Skeletal Collection and conducted field work at the UT Anthropology Research Facility, commonly known as the Body Farm.
This is the first time a large international group has trained at the FAC, said assistant director Giovanna Vidoli.
The trip materialized through the efforts of Park, whose relationship with UT dates back to 1998 when he first came to study with Richard Jantz, former director of the FAC. Park returned in subsequent years as a visiting scientist in the UT Medical Center’s Department of Pathology. He began bringing medical students to the FAC in 2015.
This year’s group is the first to include both medical students, from Soonchunhyang University, and law enforcement personnel, from the Korean Metropolitan Police Agency.
UT’s skeletal collection, with its examples of various pathologies, gave the medical students an opportunity to examine how diseases can work their way through the body and down to the bone.