Lifespan Health Research Center

Division of Morphological Sciences and Biostatistics

The Division of Morphological Sciences and Biostatistics was created within the Boonshoft School of Medicine in 2011 to unite scientists in the pursuit of excellence in biomedical research on the form and function of the human body. The primary mission of the division is to conduct research within the morphological sciences and biostatistics relevant to public health; to disseminate knowledge in a timely and meaningful fashion to all those interested; to educate and train future leaders in the biomedical morphological sciences; to serve the community by providing a resource for knowledge and information; and to serve as a model for scientific integrity.

About the Division

Richard Sherwood, Ph.D., director of the Division of Morphological Sciences and Biostatistics, explains how the center's research contributes to public health and the economic growth of the region.

Dana Duren, Ph.D., a researcher with the division, co-presented the keynote address, “Building a Translational Research Collaboration in Orthopaedic Surgery,” at the Boonshoft School of Medicine's Central Research Forum on Oct. 24, 2013.



Active Funded Research

Updating Skeletal Maturity Methods for U.S. Children

PD/PI: Duren, D.L.
Co-I: Sherwood, R.J., Nahhas, R.W.
Funding Agency: NIH/NIAMS, NICHD (R01AR055927)
Dates: 07/01/2014 – 06/30/2019

This study will provide up ­to­ date race­ specific modules to the FELS method for skeletal maturity assessment. This goal will be accomplished through the following three aims: (1) Determine differences between races in both the timing and tempo of skeletal maturity and its individual components. (2) Re­calibrate the FELS method using data from contemporary children and provide new, user ­friendly, free, and open source stand­alone and web ­based computer programs with sex­ and race-specific modules. (3) Integrate two new “personalized medicine” outputs into the FELS program: maturation ­category specific bone age, and conditional percentiles of skeletal age that can be used to predict the probability of “catch­up maturation” for a given child.


Longitudinal Modeling of Craniofacial Growth Trajectories

PD/PI: Nahhas RW
Co-I: Sherwood RJ
Funding Agency: NIH NIDCR
Dates: 04/01/2011–03/31/2014

The goal of the proposed research project is to precisely characterize ontogenetic trajectories across the functional/developmental components of the craniofacial complex throughout childhood and into young adulthood. This project will result in a web-based application, useful for both clinicians and basic researchers, which will provide sex- and age-specific benchmarks for the normative range of craniofacial growth and development.


Genetic Architecture of the Human Dentognathic Complex

PD/PI: Sherwood RJ
Co-Is: Duren DL, Towne B
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDCR (R01DE018497)
Dates for Award: 05/18/2009–03/31/2014

The ultimate objective of this project is to elucidate fundamental aspects of the genetic architecture of the human dentognathic complex. Quantitative data from the dentition, mandible, and maxilla will be collected from the Jirel population of eastern Nepal. Heritability of each trait will be estimated, and genetic and environmental correlations matrices will be examined for all traits. Additionally this project will seek to identify chromosomal regions (quantitative trait loci; QTL) harboring genes that influence variation in dentognathic measures.


Opioid Use Trajectories and HIV Risk Among Young Adults in Ohio
PD/PI: Carlson RG, Falck RS
Co-Is: Daniulaityte R, Nahhas RW
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDA (R01DA023577)
Dates of Award: 04/01/2008–12/31/2014

The goal of this proposed study is to describe trajectories of non-prescribed pharmaceutical opioid use and identify the factors associated with the development of DSM-IV abuse or dependence on pharmaceutical opioids (and transition to heroin use) among people aged 18-23 years old.


Post Baccalaureate Research Education (PREP)
PD/PI: Czerwinski SA
Mentor: Duren D
Funding Agency: NIH/NIGMS
Dates: 03/01/2010–02/28/2015

Supports the research training and education of recent baccalaureate graduates from groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research areas, who plan to pursue Ph.D. degrees. This research apprenticeship serves as an educational transition for recent baccalaureate graduates who will acquire essential academic credentials and research skills to make them more competitive for Ph.D. programs at highly selective institutions.


Adiposity, Disease Risk Factors, and Lifetime Health
PD/PI: Czerwinski SA
Co-Is: Choh AC, Chumlea WC, Duren DL, Lee M, Nahhas RW, Towne B
Funding Agency: NIH/NICHD R01HD012252
7/10/2010–6/30/2015

This project involves the collection and analysis of long-term serial data from the Fels Longitudinal Study. Data are related to indices and measures of body fatness, adipose tissue distribution, lifestyle, lipids and lipoproteins, blood pressure, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Analyses concern prediction of future states, associations among measures of body composition and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and patterns of change in individuals.


Grants Under Review

Improving Outcomes for Dental Implants in Young Adults

PD/PI: Sherwood, R.J.
Co-I: Hudson, J. Nahhas, R.W.
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDCR (R21DE024842)
Dates: 12/01/2014 – 11/30/2016

The proposed proof-of-concept R21 project will (a) Accurately estimate the measurement error associated with facial measurements taken via 3dMD, as well as less expensive, digital photographic systems, (b) Determine the amount of agreement between these methods, and (c) Use simulation to generate a working hypothesis for a clinical guideline for the decision to proceed with an osseointegrated dental implant.


Craniofacial Growth Prediction in Different Facial Types

PD/PI: Nahhas, R.W., Oh, HS (Multiple PI)
Co-I: Sherwood, R.J.
Funding Agency: NIH/NIDCR (R01DE024732
Dates: 12/01/2014 – 11/30/2019

We will identify landmarks on over 25,000 lateral cephalographs from 5,247 individuals (3,340 with serial data) age 0-27 years from the nine growth studies comprising the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation Legacy Collection. Through the analysis of these data, the proposed research will 1) estimate population- and individual-level timing of pubertal growth and adult size for multiple craniofacial traits, 2) provide diagnostic reference charts for craniofacial lengths, angles, and ratios given sex, age, facial type, and cervical vertebral maturity, 3) develop prognostic tools to predict remaining growth/change and the timing of the pubertal growth spurt for craniofacial traits, 4) make these valuable resources available to clinicians and researchers via an easy-to-use free web-based application, and 5) apply geometric morphometric techniques to extend current clinical views of quantifying craniofacial growth. The overall impact of the proposed research will be a shift in the clinical management of pediatric craniofacial patients toward more evidence-based treatment planning, utilizing references and predictions based on data from the largest North American cephalometric collections.


Aging-Related Gait Trajectories in Healthy and Osteoarthritic Older Adults

PD/PI: Andrew Froehle
Co-Is: Dana Duren, Ramzi Nahhas
NIH/NIAMS (R03AR064556)
Dates: 7/1/2014 – 6/30/2017

Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) affects walking gait, is a key factor in mobility loss, and is a leading cause of general disability among older adults. The proposed research addresses this significant public health issue by developing longitudinal indices for KOA-specific patterns of decline in mobility with advancing age. This research will provide a significantly improved prognostic tool that aids physicians in planning treatment, and promotes the patient’s capacity to minimize and anticipate KOA-related disability.


Linking Menopause and Low Estrogen to Fatigability via Impaired Fat Metabolism

PD/PI: Andrew Froehle
Co-Is: Dana Duren, Ramzi Nahhas, Lynn Hartzler, Wayne Campbell (Purdue)
NIH/NIA (R21AG049316)
Dates: 12/01/2014 – 11/30/2016

Increased fatigability reduces the ability to perform activities of daily living, limiting independence and posing a substantial challenge to successful aging. The proposed research addresses a significant public health issue by determining the effects of menopausal changes in energy metabolism on aging-related increases in fatigability. This study will identify important metabolic risk factors for increased fatigability related to menopause, and will define the menopausal transition as a key window during which to prevent and treat metabolic causes of fatigability.

Last edited on 02/17/2015.