SOAR Student Profiles

Casey Tomlin

Casey Tomlin

  • SOAR Position: Member
  • Major: Forensic Science
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Yangseung Jeong

Current Focus: Age estimation of a Korean population using CT images

Additional Interests: Biology, Chemistry, Crime Scene Investigation, Anthropology, Stable Isotope Analysis

Project Description

My research is conducted on three computer software systems that use CT images of a specific population by defining bones of interest, establishing thresholds, and calculating the bone density for age estimation purposes. This project aims to assist the current age estimation methods used by Forensic Anthropologists and the goal is to develop a quantitative method that will enhance the accuracy of age estimation in an older population. After conducting this type of research using the femur and pelvic bones it was shown that the femur was a better age indicator in both males and females. Knowing this, it will be interesting to see what results the full body will have in relation to bone density due to aging as opposed to using certain bones. This new project involving the full body could provide great results for the correlation of age with bone density and it can be beneficial for future CT image research used in this field.

Why does this topic interest you?

I took Dr. Jeong's Forensic Taphonomy course in the Fall of 2021 where he introduced the field of Forensic Anthropology and the subfield of Taphonomy. This class was very unique to me and my interest grew as we learned different related topics throughout the semester. By doing presentations based on the current research in the field I started to have an understanding of the process and learned how new research is conducted for the advancement of the field. I was intrigued by my experiences with these presentations, hands-on opportunities, and other activities in the class so I reached out to Dr. Jeong about his research. He was very open and met with me to discuss his projects where I got to learn more about them and see which topic interested me the most. After taking on this project I was able to learn about bones, thresholds, age/sex, size, and how these different things affected my project as well as its importance to the research in the field which was really interesting.

What are your professional aspirations?

I aspire to be involved in organizations, networking opportunities, internships, undergraduate research, and other related hands-on activities that will help me gain the necessary skills and understanding for my future career in Forensic Science. These experiences will assist me in my journey of becoming a Special Agent Forensic Scientist for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). I want to begin by working for the Murfreesboro Police Department developing relevant experience and then work my way up to TBI.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

Do not be afraid to get involved, be open to collaborating/networking, and have confidence in your ability to conduct research. Failure and rejection are a part of the research process and will help you grow as a researcher. You determine what you can bring to your field as a researcher and by having the right drive you can accomplish so many great things. Put yourself out there and see what things you can do with the help of others and your own hard work!

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