Research Access to Skull Collections

Research Access to Skull Collections
Research Requests

The Spencer R. Atkinson Library of Applied Anatomy and P&S Comparative Anatomy collections are open to research by all qualified personnel. Access to the collections is by appointment only. Appointments are scheduled by the Curator upon receipt of a written statement of research objectives and data collection methods. (You may download research request form links at the bottom of this page.) All research requests must be submitted in writing on institutional letterhead and addressed to

Curator, Atkinson Collection, CDHCS
University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
155 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

A report of research findings must be provided to the Curator at the conclusion of a research study regardless of whether or not a formal publication results.

Dental School Faculty or Visiting Scholars

Research request forms are available online or upon request from the CDHCS curator. The following information must be provided in the research request submitted by faculty or visiting scholars:

  1. Name, current affiliation, phone number and email address
  2. Copy of curriculum vitae
  3. Letter of support from the primary faculty advisor, if in a university undergraduate or graduate program
  4. Agreement to send copies of publications, abstracts, and dissertations resulting from your study
  5. Purpose of research, including a paragraph defining general research hypothesis and methodology, types of specimens you will examine (i.e., age groups, ethnic groups, particular syndromes, pathologies, etc.)
  6. Nature of study procedure, including anatomical structures to be examined or measured
  7. Method of examination or measurement, including calipers, other osteometric devices, 3D digitizer, photographic equipment, X-ray equipment, CT scan equipment, or other
  8. Previous experience using calipers and 3D digitizer, if these instruments are to be used during your study
  9. If you plan to bring additional visitors, their names, affiliations, and what their tasks will be
    the suggested date(s) and proposed duration of your visit
  10. How you learned about the Atkinson Collection (i.e., from website, advertisement, individual or institution)
Students of the Dental School

Research request forms are available online or upon request from CDHCS. Faculty sponsorship is required for submission of a student research request. In addition to those eleven items listed above, dental school students must provide the following:

  1. Name and department of faculty sponsor
  2. Anticipated year of graduation from the University of the Pacific
Research Approval Process

For adequate review and scheduling, research requests must be submitted at least three months in advance by visiting scholars and one month in advance by dental school faculty and students. Proposed visit date(s) and study duration will be discussed at the time of research request submission to determine the feasibility of dates and times. Following consideration and approval of the research request by the CDHCS Curator, the researcher will be notified of the approval in writing.

Research Conditions

Research permission is granted only to faculty and students of the University of the Pacific, to visiting scholars affiliated with academic institutions and to medical and dental professionals.

Research Use Form

On the day of the visit, the researcher will sign a Research Use Form that contains the following information: Researcher's name, phone number, affiliation or professional address, email address, a brief description of conditions governing research use, and a list of specimens examined. The Research Use Form serves as a means of efficient recordkeeping for CDHCS.

Designated Research Area

Research study of the skull collections by dental school faculty, students and visiting scholars must take place at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in CDHCS's designated research area. Special permission must be obtained to transport specimens to nearby facilities for photographing, X-raying or CT scanning.

Specimen Selection

Based on the objectives of the study and in consultation with the researcher, CDHCS Curator will set aside a specific or random sample of specimens from the skull collections. A Web-searchable database is being developed for the Atkinson Collection. As soon as it is available on line, researchers will be encouraged to access specimen information via the database to facilitate the selection process. Pre-selection of skulls using the database will minimize the visitor's need to survey the collection itself, an activity CDHCS discourages due to collection preservation concerns.

Care and Preservation

The curator will do most of the handling of the specimens, retrieving them from the storage cabinets for study and returning them after examination is completed. In this manner the potential for damage to the specimens is minimized. On the first day of the study, the researcher will be asked to read CDHCS's Procedural Advice for Handling Skulls guidelines and to sign a research form. There are no restrictions on the number of specimens available for study.

Research Fees

Currently there are no research fees charged to students and faculty, or to visiting scholars.