Dr. Valerie O'Loughlin

Professor of Anatomy and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, IU Bloomington

Educational Research in Anatomy

I am an active participant in Indiana University’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) initiative to examine pedagogical research questions in my classroom.  I am examining the effects of interactive learning activities in my Anatomy A215 Class.  I used Angelo and Cross' 1993 Classroom Assessment Techniques texts to develop short interactive learning modules for the classroom.  You may view these learning activities by clicking the link, or by visiting the Anatomy A215 WWW site. These quick activities made the lecture more interactive, increased student engagement, and improved lecture exam performance. 

My collaborators and I have researched how our graduate level pedagogy course (MSCI M620) influences science graduate students’ development as scholarly instructors.  We’ve examined graduate students’ teaching statements, teaching portfolios and interviewed them well after the course has ended to determine the lasting impacts of this course on their progression toward teacher-scholars.

I also am an active participant in the Course Portfolio Initiative .  A course portfolio is a written work that documents your teaching efforts in a particular course.  Evidence of learning is presented, and reflection about one's teaching is included.  The course portfolio is a document that may be peer reviewed, much like a traditional research article.  I developed my own course portfolio for Anatomy A215 (see, and I have peer reviewed several portfolios from several other research institutions.

I am a co-author of two undergraduate textbooks, both published by McGraw-Hill.  Human Anatomy (co-authored with Mike McKinley) is in its 3rd edition.  Human Anatomy and Physiology: an Integrative Approach, is coauthored with Mike McKinley and Terri Bidle and will be published early Spring 2012. 

Development of Web-Based Human Embryology Animations

Since summer 2000, I have been collaborating with others to develop short Human Embryology animations for use in my Gross Human Anatomy (A550-A551) course.  Embryology is particularly difficult to understand because one has to learn how a 3-dimensional structure changes over time.  Static, 2-D pictures are inadequate to illustrate the dynamic developmental processes that occur.  Most animations have been developed using Adobe Illustrator and Director, and converted into QuickTime movies.  Some animations are more interactive, and utilize Macromedia Flash software.  I am in the process of examining how these animations help students learn the material and have received numerous educational grants for the assessment and development of these animations.  Pedagogical online assessments are associated with each animation.  I encourage you to view the animations, and be an assessor.  Please see my embryology website:

Developmental Plasticity of the Craniofacial Complex

My other research interests encompass the fields of physical anthropology and comparative anatomy.  In particular, I am interested in the plasticity of the developing craniofacial complex.  My dissertation research utilized skeletal remains to explore the effects of cultural cranial deformation and craniosynostoses on the endocranial vasculature.  The term cultural cranial deformation is used to describe the practices of particular cultures to alter the shape of the skull in infancy and early childhood.  Craniosynostosis is where one or more of the skull sutures prematurely fuse.  Both cultural cranial deformation and craniosynostosis are similar in that they can both dramatically affect craniofacial shape.  In my research, I found that both alter the endocranial vasculature impressions in similar ways.

Further information about my research and teaching interests may be found in my CV.

Textbooks and Lab Manuals  

  • Michael McKinley,  Valerie Dean O’Loughlin, and Terri Bidle. Human Anatomy and Physiology: An Integrative Approach (1st edition).  Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Publishing. (to be published early spring 2012)
  • McKinley, Michael and Valerie Dean O'Loughlin. (2012). Human Anatomy (3rd edition). Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Publishing.
  • O'Loughlin, V.D. and Dougherty, G.S. (contributing editors). A215 Basic Human Anatomy Laboratory and Study Guide. Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil Publishing (revised and updated yearly since 1996).


  • Miller, LE, O’Loughlin, VD, Kearns, KD, Braun, M and Heacock, I.  A Pedagogy Course’s Influence on Graduate Students’ Self-Awareness as Teacher-Scholars. Studies in Graduate and Professional Student Development.  (in press). 
  • Kearns, KD, Sullivan, CS, Braun, M, and O'Loughlin, V.D. (2010) A Scoring Rubric for Teaching Statements: A Tool for Inquiry into Graduate Student Writing about Teaching and Learning. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. 21(1): 73-96. 
  • Husmann, P, O’Loughlin, VD, and Braun, MW. (2009) Quantitative and Qualitative Changes in Teaching Histology by means of Virtual Microscopy in an Introductory Course in Human Anatomy. Anatomical Sciences Education 2:218-226.
  • O'Loughlin, V.D. (June 2008). Linking Anatomy Teaching and Advancing Educational Scholarship. AAA Newsletter, p. 31.  
  • O’Loughlin, VD.  (2006) A “How to” Guide for Developing a Publishable Scholarship of Teaching Project.  Advances in Physiology Education, 30:83-88.
  • O'Loughlin, V.D. (2006). Using Cadaver Labs for Community Outreach. HAPS-Educator, 7-8.
  • O’Loughlin, VD.  (2004) Effects of Different Kinds of Cranial Deformation on the Incidence of Wormian Bones.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 123(2): 146-155.
  • O'Loughlin, V.D. Anatomy A215 Course Portfolio (electronic document accessible at the course portfolio Peer Review site: ).
  • O'Loughlin, V.D. (2002). Assessing the Effects of Interactive Learning Activities in a Large Science Class.  Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 13(1): 29-42.
  • Burrows, AM, O’Loughlin, VD, Mooney, MP, Smith, TD, Cooper, GM, Losken, HW and Siegel, MI.  (2001) Endocranial Vasculature in a Rabbit Model of Familial Nonsyndromic Coronal Suture Synostosis.  Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 38(6): 615-621.
  • O'Loughlin, V.D. (2000). Do Different Kinds of Cranial Deformation Affect the Incidence of Wormian Bones in Human Crania? American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Suppl. 20: 134.
  • Hunt, KD, O’Loughlin, VD, Fitting, DW and Adler, L.  (1998) Ultrasonic Determination of the Elastic Modulus of Human Cortical Bone.  Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, 36:51-56.
  • O’Loughlin, VD.  (1996) Comparative Endocranial Vascular Changes Due to Craniosynostosis and Artificial Cranial Deformation.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 101(3): 369-385.
  • Dean, VL.  (1995) Sinus and Meningeal Vessel Pattern Changes Induced by Artificial Cranial Deformation.  International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 5:1-14.


Awards and Honors

  • IU School of Medicine Trustee Teaching Award, 2008
  • Who's Who in the World ©, 2008-present
  • Who's Who in Science and Engineering ©, 2008-present
  • American Association of Anatomists Basmajian Award, 2007
  • Who's Who in America ©, 2007-present
  • Indiana University Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Writing Award, 2005
  • American Association of Anatomists Young Faculty Participation Award, 2002
  • Indiana University Trustee Teaching Award, 2001


  • American Association of Anatomists (AAA)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS)
  • International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (IS-SOTL)
  • National Science Teachers Association
  • Sigma Xi
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA)

1001 E 3rd St, Jordan Hall 104 | Bloomington, IN 47405 | (812) 855-8118