Natalie R. Langley, Ph.D., conducts research in the areas of clinical anatomy, medical education and forensic anthropology. Dr. Langley collaborates with physicians to elucidate the anatomical basis for clinical interventions. She studies the effectiveness of teaching and curricular innovations for continuous quality improvement in medical education. Dr. Langley's forensic research focuses on improving methods of identifying skeletal remains, analyzing skeletal trauma and determining time since death.
- Analgesic spread of nerve blocks. Dr. Langley collaborates with Tonia M. Young-Fadok, M.D., and Naresh P. Patel, M.D., to investigate innovative techniques of administering nerve blocks to mitigate peri- and postoperative pain management as an alternative to opioid pain medications.
- Metabolomics analyses for postmortem interval estimation. Dr. Langley and colleagues developed a method for more accurate estimation of time since death using metabolites of human muscle tissue. They are currently expanding this work to include bone lipids to increase the time during which accurate postmortem interval estimates can be obtained.
- Skeletal age and sex estimation. Dr. Langley developed and validated several methods for estimating skeletal age at death and sex from various bony indicators. She also studies secular change in skeletal maturation of the modern American population (earlier maturation, for example).
- Skeletal trauma. Dr. Langley's research in skeletal trauma focuses on macro- and microscopic fracture patterns indicative of the mechanism and timing of a traumatic event for medicolegal purposes.
- Medical education. Dr. Langley investigates the effectiveness of curricular and teaching method innovations in medical education. Her recent work focused on the impact of a prematriculation anatomy boot camp on student success in a medical gross anatomy course and on the utility of formative assessments in identifying struggling learners. Dr. Langley is also exploring the effects of unconscious bias in the classroom.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Langley uses her anatomical knowledge and skills to help physicians and surgeons improve methods of peri- and postoperative pain management and reduce the need for addictive opioids for relieving patient discomfort. She hopes that her forensic research provides a means of bringing closure to families who have lost loved ones.
- Recipient, six federally funded research grants, National Institute of Justice, 2009-2018
- Fellow, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 2015
- Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Anthropology, 2015
- Recipient, Teaching Excellence Award, Upward Bound Program, 2010