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 and her colleagues are investigating innovative techniques of administering nerve blocks to mitigate peri- and postoperative pain, and as an alternative to opioid pain medications. In this area of research, Dr. Langley collaborates with:
- Metabolomic 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 (for example, earlier maturation).
- 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. In this area of research, Dr. Langley collaborates with David G. Lott, M.D.
- 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 pre-matriculation anatomy boot camp on student success in a medical gross anatomy course and on the utility of formative assessments in evaluating learner progress.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Langley uses her anatomical knowledge and skills to help physicians and surgeons improve pain management and reduce the need for addictive opioids for relieving patient discomfort. She also assists with testing the effectiveness and safety of innovative techniques for administering regional anesthesia for surgical procedures. Her forensic research provides a means of bringing closure to families who have lost loved ones.
- Board of Directors, American Board of Forensic Anthropology, 2019
- Recipient, six federally funded research grants from the National Institute of Justice, 2009-2019
- Fellow, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 2015
- Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Anthropology, 2015
- Recipient, Upward Bound Programs Teaching Excellence Award, 2010