Penn State Anatomy Graduate Program

The Graduate Program in Anatomy at Penn State's College of Medicine offers training programs leading to Masters (M.S.) or Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Anatomy for individuals interested in acquiring advanced training in the anatomical sciences. The Masters Program is a two-year course of study, with an emphasis in preparing students for further professional education (e.g., medicine, dentistry and osteopathy). The Doctoral Degree provides an opportunity for students who want to pursue an academic career in the biological sciences to acquire specialty training and teaching experience.

In addition to the  traditional areas of study including gross anatomy, histology, human embryology and neuroanatomy, the curriculum will include core courses in cell biology, systems biology, biochemistry and physiology. Both MS and Ph.D. tracks require that each student will conduct original research under the supervision of a faculty member culminating in the oral defense of a written thesis. Ph.D. students have the opportunity to gain teaching experience in the medical gross anatomy course and/or neuroanatomy course.

Welcome to the Anatomy Students-entering Fall 2015

Joshua Baker- University of Pittsburgh

Amrita Jaiprakash- York University, Canada

John LeeThe Pennsylvania State University

Elise Orellana- Louisiana State University, (MS)-Northern Illinois University

Sarah Tilden- Oakland University, Michigan



Caitlin A. McMenamin a member of Kirsteen N. Browning's Lab, successfully passed her Comprehensive Exam, July 27, 2015

Amanda R. White a member of Gregory M. Holmes' Lab, successfully passed her Comprehensive Exam, August 14, 2015

Congratulations to the following Anatomy students who have passed their Candidacy Exam in Spring 2015

  • Gary J. Farkas (Mentor: David R. Gater)
  • Michael D. Ludwig (Mentor: Patricia J. McLaughlin)
  • Haley L. Nation (Mentor: Sean D. Stocker)
  • Michelle B. Titunick (Mentor: Patricia J. McLaughlin)

 Special Recognition to: Doctoral Candidate, Haley L. Nation

Ms. Nation received the Karl H. Beyer Jr. M.D., Ph.D. Scholarship Award for her academic excellence at the Fall Convocation Ceremony, September 18, 2015.



Leslie A. Hammer, Ph.D. Candidate

Hammer LA, Zagon IS, McLaughlin PJ (2013) Treatment of a relapse-remitting model of multiple sclerosis with opioid growth factor. Brain Res. Bull. Sep;98: 122-31. doi 10.10106/j Epub 2013 Aug 22 PMID: 23973432

Jessica A. Immonen, Ph.D. (SP2014 graduate)

Immonen JA, Zagon IS, McLaughlin PJ (2014) Topical Naltrexone as Treatment for Type 2 Diabetic Cutaneous Wounds  Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle) Jun 1;3 (6): 419-427 PMID: 24940556

Zagon IS, Sassani JW, Immonen JA, McLaughlin PJ. (2014) Ocular surface abnormalities related to type 2 diabetes are reversed by the opioid antagonist naltrexone. Clin Experiment Ophthalmol Mar, 42 (2):159-68 doi 10.1111/ceo. 12144 Epub 2013 Jul 29 PMID: 23777539

Zeinab Nasralah, Ph.D. Candidate

Nasralah Z, Robinson W, Jackson GR, Barber AJ (2013) Measuring Visual Function in Diabetic Retinopathy: Progress in Basic and Clinical Research. J Clin Exp Ophthalmol Nov 4:306 doi: 10.4172/2155

Lewis, MM, G Du, EY Lee, Z Nasralah, NW Sterling, L Zhang, D Wagner, L Kong, AI Troster, M Styner, PJ Eslinger, RB Mailman, X Huang (2015) The pattern of gray matter atrophy in Parkinson's disease differs in cortical and subcortical regions. J Neurol 2015 Oct 20 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26486354

Emily M. Swartz, Ph.D. Candidate

Holmes GM, Swartz EM, McLean MS (2014) Fabrication and implantation pf miniature dual-element strain gages for measuring in vivo gastrointestinal contractions in rodents. Journal of Visualized Experiments (In Print)

Swartz EM, Browning KN, Travagli RA, Holmes GM (2014) Ghrelin increases vagally mediated gastric activity by central sites of action. Neurogastroenterology & Motility  Feb 26(2):272-82 doi 10.1111/nmio 12261 Epub 2013 Nov 22 PMID: 24261332

Browning KN, Babic T, Holmes GM, Swartz E, Travagli RA (2013) A critical re-evaluation of the specificity of action of perivagal capsaicin. The Journal of Physiology Mar 15;591(Pt6):1563-80 doi 1113/physiol.2012. 246827 Epub 2013 Jan 7 PMID: 23297311 

Amanda E. Troy, Ph.D. Candidate

Babic T, Troy AE, Fortna SR, Browning KN (2012) Glucose-dependent trafficking of 5-HT3 receptors in rat gastrointestinal vagal afferent neurons. Neurogastroenterol Motil. Oct;24(10):e476-88 doi: 10.1111/j 1365-2982.2012.01987.x. Epub 2012 Jul 30 PMID: 22845622

  • Faculty and Student Research Retreat
    Friday, August 28, 2015
    4:00 - 7:00 PM Antique Auto Museum
  • Convocation and Awards Ceremony
    Friday, September 18, 2015
    4:00 - 5:30 PM Ted P. Junker Auditorium
  • Graduate Student Research Forum 
    Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4, 2016
  • Graduate and Post-Doctoral Career Day Career Day
    Saturday, March 5, 2016

    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Commencement Awards Ceremony
     (By Invitation Only)
    Saturday, May 14, 2016
    12:30 - 3:30 PM University Conference Center Tent



MS Graduate sites of continuing professional education:

The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC), Scranton, PA

LMU-Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York, NY

Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Independence OH

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Philadelphia, PA

University of Central Florida, College of Medicine (UCF), Orlando, FL

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD         

Selected alumni of the Anatomy graduate program

Post-graduate Positions in Academia


William Robinson, DPT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anatomy

             A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine, Mesa, AZ


Melissa A. Carroll, Ph.D., MS, Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

            DeSales University, Center Valley, PA


Anna Campbell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

             A.T. Still University-School of Osteopathic Medicine, Mesa, AZ

Brittany Luckett, MS

            Visiting Instructor, Integrative Physiology & Health Science, Alma College, MI

Sarah McCarthy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Anatomy

            LECOM (Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine) Erie, PA


Jessica A. Immonen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

             Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, UT


Emily Besecker, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

            Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA

Amanda Troy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anatomical Sciences

           Liberty University College of Osteopathci Medicine, Lynchburg, VA