RENEE WILLMON

helping the dead tell their tales

About

By day, I am a Vanier Scholar completing my PhD in the department of anthropology at The University of Western Ontario, where I use advanced 3D imaging tools to study the impact of Tuberculosis on the human skeleton. My research is contributing to our understanding of the past movement of people and pathogens by identifying the effects of disease-causing bacteria that persist in the archaeological record. This increased understanding of the past experience of TB is crucial to contextualize the present experience of the disease and potentially anticipate future trends in its spread. I am also increasing our understanding of how imaging techniques like micro-CT can be used to access new types of information from the skeleton.

By night, I investigate unsolved cold cases, and work alongside police and coroners on cases involving human remains. I am driven to provide answers to victims’ loved ones, and help serve justice to perpetrators. My scientific training in biological and social sciences anchors my investigative approach, resulting in testable, repeatable and evidence-based conclusions.

As a young female scientist, I strongly support outreach initiatives, and love engaging the public with the science that surrounds us every day – whether it’s as an Expert On Call to classrooms around Canada, or through your television set as an investigator on “To Catch A Killer”. I am also committed to fostering experiential learning opportunities in University classrooms, and have appeared as an invited guest lecturer on topics ranging from death investigations, to skeletal anatomy in a number of Ontario Universities.

Research
Investigations
Forensic Anthropology
Teaching & Outreach

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