The Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility (STAFS) is a state-of-the-art research, education, and training center designed to advance academic and technical knowledge in the application of anthropology, human anatomy, forensic science, biology, and chemistry. Bodies donated to the STAFS facility are a precious asset, and are a pivotal component of our research and teaching activities. The skeleton of each donation is also a very valuable asset that is permanently accessioned to the STAFS Skeletal Collection for continued research, education, and training by scientists, investigators, students, law enforcement officials and forensic practitioners.



"Finis coronat opus" This Latin phrase means, "the end crowns the work." But what does this really mean? At STAFS, the crown is the manifestation of what one did in life, and the activities that are recorded in the human physical body. It may be an illness such as tuberculosis that can leave lesions on the skeleton, or a broken arm from playing high school football. At the end of life, our physical bodies are a testament to our life experiences – our crowning glory.

As scientists, we can examine the end product (or crown) of that individual’s life and we can obtain very useful information to learn from and pass on to others. Students can examine the effects of some diseases or injuries that leave indicators in the soft or hard tissue of the body. Other biological features, pathologies and trauma can be used to aid in the identification of an individual or missing person. Students and practitioners can gain invaluable knowledge and understanding from our bodies through continual education, research, and training.

At STAFS, the crown of one's life, the human body, is highly valued and is treated with dignity and respect. The body is essential in the continual development and improvement of applied scientific and forensic techniques.


Our mission is to facilitate the advancement of forensic science, anthropology, biology and chemistry through the use of our willed-body donations to enable innovative research, teaching, and training. STAFS's vision, commitment and service is to support research, develop new techniques and skills, and extend our knowledge, so that academics, forensic science practitioners, and law enforcement can work together to bring a voice, a comfort, or peace to others.