Graduate Program

Anatomy Students Group

Program Description

The Structural Anatomy and Rehabilitation Sciences (SARS) Graduate Program is a collaborative, inter-professional program offered by the Center for Anatomical Sciences and the Department of Physical Therapy through the UNTHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

The SARS program offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees combining research, coursework, and teaching experiences. The program also supports D.O./Ph.D. and D.P.T./Ph.D. dual-degree students. These degrees are designed to develop and train students to serve as faculty members and independent researchers in various departments at universities and health science centers.
The program focuses on anatomy and movement science using advanced experimental, computational, and clinical tools. Major research foci of the program include:

  • Evolutionary Anatomy & Functional Morphology: Studies investigating the structure and function of musculoskeletal tissues from evolutionary and/or anthropological perspectives.
  • Clinical Anatomy & Biomechanics: Studies investigating the analysis, design, and development of orthopedic and rehabilitation protocols, techniques, tools, and assistive devices.
  • Neuroscience: Studies investigating the production, learning, and control of movement.
  • Education Science: Studies investigating the teaching and learning of anatomy/movement science through the development of novel educational tools, techniques, and assessment strategies.


SARS Faculty

Cara Fisher, PhD. Assistant Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Clinical anatomy, human anatomical variation
Headshot1c Lauren Gonzales, PhD. Assistant Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Biological anthropology, primate evolution, brain and sensory anatomy, vision and balance, field paleontology.
Howe Liu Professor Physical Therapy Hao Liu, MPT, MD, PhD. Professor, Dept. of Physical Therapy – Neuroscience, anatomy, balance improvement, geriatric research, bioengineering of assistive ambulatory devices (AADs).
Rehana Lovely Rehana Lovely, PhD. Assistant Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Human anatomical variation, anatomy education and community outreach research.
Scott Maddux Scott Maddux, PhD. Assistant Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Biological anthropology, human evolution and variation, respiratory biomechanics, climatic adaptation and thermoregulation.
Rachel Menegaz Rachel Menegaz, PhD. Assistant Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Evolutionary biology, craniofacial biomechanics and feeding, developmental plasticity, osteogenesis imperfecta.
Meyer Kimberly Meyer, MPAS, PhD.  Director, Center for Innovative Learning & Associate Professor, Physician Assistant Studies – Health sciences education, curriculum design, educational technology.
Haylie Miller Haylie Miller, PhD.  Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physical Therapy – Visuomotor integration, Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental cognitive neuroscience
Moudy Sarah Moudy, PhD. Instructor, Dept. of Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine – Sports biomechanics,  neuromuscular function, gait asymmetry.
Rita Patterson 2 Rita Patterson, PhD.  Professor, Associate Dean for Research, Dept. of Manipulative Medicine – Biomedical engineering, hand and wrist biomechanics, kinematics, motion capture.
Rusty Reeves (2019) Rustin Reeves, PhD. Professor & Director, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Musculoskeletal biomechanics, clinical anatomy, education and outreach research.
Armando Rosales, PhD. Associate Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Human anatomical variation, clinical/surgical anatomy.
Emma Wood, PhD. Assistant Professor, Center for Anatomical Sciences – Biological anthropology, dental anatomy, evolutionary endocrinology.

Research Facilities

Human Movement Performance Laboratory: The 2,300 square foot HMP laboratory is equipped with a motion analysis system for kinematic testing of normal and pathological motion, force plates for measurement of center of pressure, and computational facilities for creating patient-specific models and simulations.

Bioskills Laboratory: The Bioskills Lab supports a wide spectrum of cadaver-based research including investigations of human variation, biomechanics, neuroscience, applied anatomy (development of clinical protocols and devices), and anatomy-focused educational pedagogy.

Bone and Joint Research Laboratory: The Bone and Joint Research Laboratory supports investigations of hard and soft tissue biomechanics. The lab is well-equipped with cutting-edge technologies, including instruments for assessing biomechanical material properties (MTS 858 mini Bionix II) and motion tracking (Polhemus LIBERTY 6D).

Comparative Anatomy and Morphometrics Laboratory:  The CAM Lab supports investigations of anatomy in both humans and non-human species. The lab facilitates gross dissection, histological analyses, and 3D quantitative analyses of anatomy using modalities such as 3D laser scanning, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The lab is also equipped with advanced 3D printing technologies for educational, outreach, and research purposes.

Evolutionary Anatomy and Education Research Laboratory:  The “EvolvEd” Lab facilitates the storage and study of fossil/skeletal material from paleontological excavations and experimental studies.  The lab houses high-precision 3D laser scanners (Artec Space-Spider and Artec Micro) and equipment for high-resolution photography and casting.  The lab also actively supports education science research and K-12/community outreach.

Human Thermoregulation Laboratory:  With construction beginning in Fall 2020, the Human Thermoregulation Lab will be equipped with a 150 ft2 walk-in environmental chamber to support experimental testing of the interaction between human anatomy and thermoregulatory physiology during exposure to different climatic conditions.

3D Printing Laboratory:  The 3D Printing Lab houses advanced printing technologies for educational, outreach, and research purposes.  These include a 3D printer (Ultimaker 3e) for the production of hyper-accurate 3D anatomical models and a large-format printer (HP Designjet Z5200) for cost-efficient printing of high-resolution faculty/student research posters.

Discovery Centers: A part of the UNTHSC “Open Innovation Initiative”, the two Discovery Centers on campus provide shared laboratory space for students and faculty to access state-of-the-art equipment not available in most research labs.


Degree Plans

Both degree programs may be entered by applicants holding a Bachelor’s degree.  Students do not typically complete both programs (the M.S. degree is not a prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. program).  Completion of the M.S. degree typically requires 2-3 years; the Ph.D. degree is generally completed in 4-5 years.

Detailed information regarding each degree can be found in the SARS HANDBOOK 2020-2021.


Financial Support

Currently, the financial support offered to Ph.D. students is $32,962 ($26,185 after tuition and fees) annually for up to 5 years.  Acceptance into the SARS graduate program does not guarantee nor imply financial support. Offers of financial support are specifically stated either in the offer of admission or in separate correspondence.


Application Procedures

All applicants to the Structural Anatomy and Rehabilitation Sciences (SARS) Graduate Program must apply through the UNTHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences online application system.  Specific application guidelines are available for each degree: M.S. application guide; Ph.D. application guide (note the SARS Master of Science degree is a “traditional” research-based M.S. degree at UNTHSC).

Individuals interested in applying to the SARS graduate program are strongly encouraged to inform the Graduate Advisor for Anatomical Sciences (contact info below) or a prospective CAS faculty mentor of their intent prior to submitting an application.


Conference Travel Awards

Anatomy Travel Award Program (Center for Anatomical Sciences): $500 per student, preference for presenters. Rolling deadline. Application available here.

Graduate Student Travel Award (Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences): $500 per student, preference for presenters.  Requires $250 match from department or major professor. Deadlines: January 1 (April 1-September 30 travel), July 1 (October 1-March 31 travel).  Application available on GSBS website.

Professional Development Award (Graduate Student Association): $600 per student for conference presenters; $400 for workshop attendees.  Deadlines: August 14 (August-September travel), September 21 (October-December travel), January 5 (January-March travel), March 23 (April-May travel), May 21 (June-August travel).  Application available on GSA Orgsync website.



Rachel Menegaz, Ph.D.
Graduate Advisor for Anatomical Sciences
Center for Anatomical Sciences
Phone: 817-735-0126

This page was last modified on October 19, 2020