Mercyhurst University


Applied Forensic Labs

Applied Forensic Sciences Classroom

The main classroom for the Applied Forensic Sciences department is located in Zurn Hall, Room 119.  While primarily used as a lecture room, the classroom is also used by faculty and graduate students for research, casework, and is often the location of speical presentations given by guest lecturers. 

Common courses hosted in Zurn 119 include Paleoanthropology, Forensic Archaeology, and other graudate and undergraduate forensic anthropology courses. The classroom is also the primary location for the summer short courses in forensic anthropology, offered annually that welcomes students, faculty, and law enforcement professionals from national and international institutions. 



Forensic Anthropology Processing Lab

The Hirtzel Laboratory Extension, reffered to as the Forensic Anthropology Wet Lab, is a secure facility located on the Main Campus. 

With the completion of the Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory at the Mercyhurst-North East Campus, the Wet Lab on Main Campus is primarily utilized for processing specimens for the zooarchaeology collection housed in the Comparative 

Osteological Collection Laboratory. Vertebrate faunal remains are documented and then macerated (soft tissue removed) and cleaned in this laboratory. This is primarily where undergraduate students and work-study students recieve most of their experience and training in processing. The Wet Lab is also used for undergra

duate research, with assistance from and/or in collaboration with graduate students and faculty.

In addition to processing zoorachaeology specimens, many graduate and undergraduate students use the Wet Lab to take overall, group, and individual photos for cases. The Wet Lab also stores all necessary supplies for labeling and casting needed for classifying and identifying skeletal elements housed in Evidence Lock-Up. Becuase of the senstiitve nature of materials processed in the Wet Lab, this room is locked at all times and a daily activities log is maintained. 

Forensic case and human remains processing is conducted at the Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory at the JLM Center at the Mercyhurst University-North East Campus, approximately 15 miles away.


Briggs Annex Graduate House

The Briggs Annex Graduate House, commonly known as The Annex, is a building that accommodates offices for all Forensic Anthropology graduate students, Professor Luis Cabo (Health and Safey Manager and Director of Graduate Student Research), Professor Kelsey Carpenter (Lecturer and Forensic Case Coordinator), and one of the program’s osteological collections. Graduate students and faculty have 24/7 key access to this facility. Each graduate student maintains a desk in the House, which can be used for studying or for TA office hours. The House also maintains a kitchenette for graduate student use.

The Annex contains a technology lab providing students access to software such as Adobe Photoshop and ArcGIS, as well as large desktop and Next Engine 3D scanners, available for research and casework. 

All forensic archaeological excavation and recovery equipment can be found in the shed adjacent to the Graduate House. 


Ted A. Rathbun Osteology LaboratoryOsteology Laboratory

The Ted A. Rathburn Osteology Laboratory, also known as the Bone Lab, serves the purpose of providing a smaller teaching facility (12-15 students) often used for hands-on intensive courses, such as Fragmentary Human Osteology and Skeletal Trauma Analysis. It is also utilized as a storage resource facility for the majority of the human and animal osteological collections in the possesion of the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences. 

The Osteology Lab includes a wall with drawers from floor-to-ceiling containing our comparative collections of human remains, large vetebrae skeletons, vertebrate faunal collections from a number of historical and prehistoric sites, fossil hominid casts, and donated human skeletal remains. This laboratory is equipped with osteometric devices including digital sliding and spreading calipers, osteometric boards, and FORDISC 3.0, an interactive computer program used by Forensic Anthropologists for biological profiling. In addition, this laboratory is home ot osteological and anthropological literature, available to faculty and students as references, research, and study materials. 


Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory, North East

In 2009, Mercyhurst University acquired a building on the Mercyhurst North East, PA campus, allocating a large space for the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences to house one of the best equipped facilities offered by a forensic anthropology program. The Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory includes a secure processing laboratory with an autopsy suite, state-of-the-art autopsy tools and benches, a digital x-ray machine, a classroom, and a walk-in cooler for the storage of human remains. 





Ciminalistics LabCriminalistics Lab

The Criminalistics Laboratory, also called the Crim Lab, is located in Zurn Hall, room 64B. This versatile lab, designed to look like a living room in a house, is used to set up mock crime scenes where students practice blood spatter analysis, microscopic comparison of ballistic evidence, fingerprinting, and crime scene sketching. The Crim Lab can be set up to accommodate any topic that is discussed in the Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminalistics classes.

The Crim Lab doubles as an office for Professor Dennis Donovan, a retired Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant, and as a main workspace for the department's work-study students. 


Mercyhurst Forensic Anthropology Van

The Department of Applied Forensic Sciences has a 15-passenger van used for transporting students, faculty, and equipment to case recoveries and to the North East Hirtzel Forensic Anthropology Laboratory. The van is kept at the Briggs Annex Graduate House.