Joan Richtsmeier is the 2019 Recipient of the Henry Gray Scientific Achievement Award

Joan Richtsmeier, a distinguished professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, is the recipient of the 2019 Henry Gray Scientific Achievement Award from the American Association of Anatomists. The award is the association’s most prestigious scientific award, presented annually to a member in recognition of unique and meritorious contributions and achievements in the field of anatomical sciences.

Dr. Richtsmeier has been a Penn State faculty member since 2000. She is also an honorary research fellow at the International Research Center for Bioarchaeology at Jilin University in China. Earlier in her career, she held faculty positions at Northwestern University in Illinois and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Currently, Dr. Richtsmeier’s research is investigating the chondrocranium, the first skull to form during embryonic development, composed of cartilage, which in humans and most other vertebrates is replaced by bone during development. Through a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, she is studying the development of the chondrocranium in embryos of mice carrying disease-associated mutations.

Dr. Richtsmeier is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College where she majored in sociology and anthropology. She holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern University.

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