Tafline Arbor, Ph.D.
Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Tafline Arbor, Ph.D. joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine as an assistant professor of anatomy in 2013. Dr. Arbor is an experienced osteopathic educator with a teaching focus in human clinical, functional, and developmental anatomy.
Dr. Arbor earned her bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest University and her master of arts degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for her comparative anatomical research on the radiocarpal joint of the Miocene fossil primate Kenyapithecus “Equatorius” africanus. Her doctorate in Anthropology was awarded by Washington University in St. Louis for her monographic description and morphological analyses of the Makapansgat australopithecine assemblage.
Before joining MU-COM, Dr. Arbor was a faculty member in the Department of Anatomy at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has extensive accomplishments in university, community, and professional service. Dr. Arbor has been an NBOME Item Writer and Reviewer, Iowa Academy of Science Grant Reviewer, and AAPA Physical Anthropology Women’s Mentoring Network Leadership Committee Member. She has chaired several university committees, including Research and Grants, CITL Search, and Bylaws. She also served as a volunteer and faculty advisor for the Homeless Camp Outreach Group and faculty advisor for the Medical Students for Choice Club at DMU.
Dr. Arbor’s research explores the comparative anatomy, biological variation, and evolutionary history of human and non-human primates. Her two primary research areas focus on 1) the functional adaptations and phylogenetic relationships of the early hominin genus Australopithecus and 2) the North American fossil primate record. She has been involved in international collaborative research, led paleontological and paleoanthropological excavations in North America and Africa, and served as a mentor to students in anatomical and anthropological research. Currently, Dr. Arbor is involved in paleontological fieldwork and laboratory analysis of small mammals from fossil deposits in northwestern Nebraska in order to address biogeographic issues relating to the extinction of North American primates (including climate change, species competition, and species movements).
Dr. Arbor has earned numerous grants, fellowships, and awards during her graduate and professional career, some of which include: Evolving Earth Foundation, Stephen J. Gould, Lambda Alpha, Geological Society of America, and Iowa Osteopathic Education and Research Grants; Southern Illinois University Master’s and Washington University Graduate Fellowships; and Carl Neureuther and William S. Pollitzer Awards. Dr. Arbor also was awarded a Washington University Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence for her instruction in both undergraduate and graduate medical level human gross anatomy and development courses.