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Kamar Afra

PhD Candidate


Kamar (pronounced Amar) is from Beirut, Lebanon. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science in 2016, at the American University of Science and Technology, Lebanon. In 2017 she completed her MA in Anthropology at Texas State University, San Marcos. During and after her Bachelor’s degree, Kamar worked with Act for the Disappeared as a volunteer interviewer, member of the training team, and forensic research assistant. ACT is an NGO based in Beirut that deals with cases of missing persons from the Lebanese civil war. She also worked with the Directory of Antiquity on various archaeological sites in Beirut.  As an assistant archaeologist/ bioanthropologist, Kamar worked on documenting and mapping graves, artifacts, and human remains from different historical periods. During her time in Texas, she volunteered at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University (FACTS) doing skeletal processing, remains recovery, and skeletal inventory. Through the FACTS, she assisted with short courses, gave lectures, and volunteered with Operation identification (OpID). OpID is “a service-learning project founded at the FACTS to facilitate the identification and repatriation of unidentified human remains found along or in close proximity to the South Texas border.”1

During her MA program Kamar was the Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) responsible for curation and inventory of the paleopathology collection at Texas State University. Currently, she is a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) in the UTK Biology Department and volunteers at the Forensic Anthropology Center (FAC).



Kamar’s research focuses on human identification through an interdisciplinary approach among forensic anthropology, genetics, and art. Her prior research focuses on the employment of genetic markers in facial reconstruction techniques.

Her dissertation work will look at the process of disappearance through a biocultural lens. She will explore the different current forensic techniques involved in the process of human identification in the criminal justice system through a community engaged project highlighting local resources.

Kamar is also interested in Islamic mortuary practices and their effects on postmortem decomposition, Quantitative & Statistical Methods through machine learning, and transitional justice in human rights issues.


M.A. Anthropology; emphasis on Biological Anthropology, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA, 2019

  • Master’s Thesis: Genotypic expression of traits on craniofacial hard tissue for positive identification purposes in a modern European-American skeletal collection

B.S. Clinical Laboratory Science; emphasis on Forensic Science, American University of Science and Technology, Beirut, Lebanon, 2016

Awards and Recognitions

2022               F. Stanley Lusby & John O. Hodges Teaching Award, UTK

2022               Simon Beckett Student Paper Prize, FAC, UTK

2020               21st Annual FSF Emerging Forensic Scientist Award, AAFS

2019               Tennessee Fellowships for Graduate Excellence, UTK

2018               Thesis Research Support Fellowship, Txstate

2018               Grady Early Endowment Fellowship, Txstate

2017-2019     Fulbright Scholarship, U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

2017-2019     The Anthropology Graduate Student Scholarship Award, Txstate

2017-2019     Biological Anthropology Award, Txstate


Afra, K., Algee-Hewitt, B. F., & Hamilton, M. D. (2021). Understanding the Relationship between Genetic Markers and Skeletal Remains: Implications for Forensic Anthropology and Phenotype-Genotype Studies. Human Biology, 93(2), 83-104.

 Afra, K., Hamilton, M. D., & Algee-Hewitt, B. F. (2021). Self-reported ancestry and craniofacial SNPs: Assessing correspondence with implications for forensic case analysis and reporting. Forensic Anthropology, 4(4), 181.

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