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Barth W. Wright, PhD

Portrait of Barth Wright
Professor, Surgery

Professional Background

I received both my BA and MA degrees in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. My PhD training took place at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where I received my PhD in Anthropology in 2004. Following this, I undertook postdoctoral training at the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology (CASHP) at Washington University. After my academic training, I was an Assistant, Associate, and then full Professor of Anatomy at Kansas City University, where I was also the Chair of Anatomy and Director of the university's Gift Body Program for the last four years of my 15 year tenure at KCU.



My research program uses non-human primate and other mammalian models to evaluate hypotheses concerning craniofacial and dental adaptation and evolution. I integrate ecological data on food physical properties, cranial morphometrics, and finite element analysis (FEA) of crania to answer these questions. A portion of my present research is part of a collaborative study with colleagues from the University of Chicago, Washington University, Duke University, University of Georgia, University of São Paulo, and the University of Southern California that includes data collected by me from wild non-human primates at field sites in Suriname and Brazil. Presently, these data are being integrated with data collected by colleagues from museums in the US and abroad, computer analysis for the construction and analysis of finite element models, and experimental data on laboratory-housed non-human primates. Findings from this research are contributing to our understanding of the evolution of fossil and living human and non-human primates and enhancing our knowledge of craniodental function and pathology. My areas of expertise in research and my training in evolutionary anatomy provide me with a perspective that helps to answer the “why” questions that arise when studying modern human anatomy. I have additionally developed a close collegial relationship with researchers in the School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), which has greatly aided in the development of two informative anatomy fellow projects focused on the clinical relevance and function of the anterior lateral ligament of the knee.