Faculty and Staff

Mary Cole headshotMary Beth Cole, PhD
Assistant Professor

Division Radiologic Sciences and Therapy


3187F Graves Hall
333 W. 10th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Professional Areas of Interest

  • Skeletal biology
  • Bone histology
  • Bone tissue imaging
  • Data visualization
  • Statistical computing


Dr. Cole is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Radiologic Sciences and Therapy within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. As a biological anthropologist and skeletal biologist, she is interested in how bone tissue quality and strength is shaped by life history, including age, demographics, behavior, and pathology. She studies mechanically and physiologically driven microstructural changes in the mechanical competency of bone, in scenarios ranging from low-force osteoporotic fracture to injury biomechanics. Her current research focuses on age-associated morphometric changes to cortical porosity and lacunar-canalicular osteocyte networks. 

Dr. Cole’s methodological interest is the development of automated image processing routines to isolate and morphometrically characterize bone tissue microstructures. She works with images derived from brightfield and polarized histology, widefield fluorescence microscopy, micro-CT, synchrotron radiation micro-CT, and multiphoton confocal imaging. Additionally, she develops statistical computing workflows for automated feature selection, multivariate modeling, and data visualization. 

Recent Publications

  • Cole ME, Gosman J, Stout SD. (2023). “Current Concepts in Bone Biology” In: A Companion to Biological Anthropology (Second Edition). Edited by: Larsen CS. Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 31: pp. 527-543. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119828075
  • Cole ME, Stout SD, Dominguez VM, Agnew AM. (2022). Pore Extractor 2D: An ImageJ toolkit for quantifying cortical pore morphometry on histological bone images with application to intraskeletal and regional patterning. American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 179(3): 365-385. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24618
  • Andronowski JM, Cole ME, Davis RA, Tubo GR, Taylor JT, Cooper DML. (2022). A multimodal 3D imaging approach of pore networks in the human femur to assess age-associated vascular expansion and lacuno-canalicular reduction. The Anatomical Record, 306(3), 475-493. https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.25089
  • Andronowski, JM, Cole ME. (2020). Current and emerging histomorphometric and imaging techniques for assessing age-at-death and cortical bone quality. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Forensic Science, 3(2):e1399. Oct, 2020. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wfs2.1399
  • Stout SD, Cole ME, Agnew AM. (2019). “Histomorphology: Deciphering the Metabolic Record” In: Ortner’s Identification of Pathological Conditions in Human Skeletal Remains (Third Edition). Edited by: Buikstra, JE. Academic Press. Chapter 6: pp 91-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-809738-0.00006-5

Recent Presentations

  • Cole ME, Agnew AM. (2024). Histological and micro-CT perspectives on the regionality of porosity in the human rib. Presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Biological Anthropologists (AABA), Los Angeles, CA , March 21, 2024. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 183(S77):32. 
  • Cole ME, Kang Y-S, Agnew AM. (2024). Aging Increases Regional Variation in the Pore Morphometry of Human Ribs. Presented at the 76th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Denver, CO, February 23, 2024. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 30:144. 
  • Cole ME, Kang Y-S, Agnew AM. (2023). Correction of Cross-Sectional Geometry for Porosity Improves Prediction of Human Rib Structural Bending Response. Presented at the 2023 American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 14, 2023. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 38(S2):209. 
  • Cole ME, Agnew AM, McAdow S, Goldsmith G, Harden AL. (2023). A preliminary investigation of relationships between cortical porosity and fracture type in human tibiae. Presented at the 75th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Orlando, FL, February 16, 2023. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 29:108. 
  • Cole ME, Kang Y-S, Harden AL, Dominguez VM, Agnew AM. (2022). Quantifying 2D cortical porosity improves prediction of human rib structural bending response. Presented at the 2022 American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, September 10, 2022. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 37(S1):189. 

Major Awards

  • 2023 - Ellis R. Kerley Research Award, American Academy of Forensic Sciences


  • Post-doctoral Researcher (2021-2023), Injury Biomechanics Research Center, The Ohio State University
  • Post-doctoral Fellow (2019-2021), Department of Biology, The University of Akron
  • PhD (2014-2019), Biological Anthropology, The Ohio State University
  • MA (2012-2014), Biological Anthropology, The Ohio State University
  • BS (2008 – 2012), Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 
  • BA (2008 – 2012), Cultural Anthropology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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