Mercyhurst University

Diana Messer

Post-Doctoral - Forensic Science

Zurn 119B


Diana Messer is a new post-doctoral faculty in the Applied Forensic Sciences Department, returning after completing her M.S. in Biological and Forensic Anthropology at Mercyhurst University in 2013. Previously, Diana earned her B.S. in Biological Anthropology at Southern Connecticut State University in 2010. During this time, she conducted research in Peru on cranial vault modification and skeletal indications of stress and infection with Dr. Valerie Andrushko.


Diana is a PhD candidate in Anatomy at The Ohio State University, where her dissertation research examines the effect of individual age, fracture location, and abuse status on pediatric fracture healing based on radiographic assessment. She hopes that the results from this research will have implications for time since injury estimation in child physical abuse cases. In 2016, she received an Exploratory Research Grant from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio to complete her dissertation data collection.


In 2016, Diana was an Invited Visiting Scientist at the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office. During her time at OSU, Diana served as a Team Leader of the Forensic Anthropology Case Team and co-authored multiple forensic anthropological reports. To date, she has worked on or assisted with over 50 forensic cases.


Diana also has extensive bioarchaeological experience, having served as a field osteologist and research assistant for excavations in Dhank, Oman and Drawsko, Poland. Her prior archaeological experience includes Revolutionary War excavations and over five years of experience in cultural resource management in the New England area.


In addition to her PhD in Anatomy, Diana will graduate with a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in College and University Teaching. She has extensive teaching experience particularly in human anatomy having taught medical, dental, PT/OT, and continuing education anatomy dissection labs and courses. In these courses, she was able to assist with a variety of topics including gross anatomy, embryology, neuroanatomy, histology, and use of ultrasound to visualize anatomical structures. Most recently, Diana was an adjunct faculty professor of human anatomy at Columbus State Community College.


While her primary interest is forensic anthropology, Diana has also conducted research into medical anatomy education, exploring how optional supplemental instruction may improve gross anatomy scores for first year medical students.


At Mercyhurst, Diana teaches the Skeletal Trauma Analysis, Basics of Forensic Anthropology, and Human Growth and Development courses in addition to a constant flow of forensic casework.